Elegy for Thelonious

words by Yusef Komunyakaa

Damn the snow
Its senseless beauty pours a hard light through the hemlock
Thelonious is dead
Winter drifts in the hourglass
Notes pour from the brain cup

Damn the alley cat
Wailing a muted dirge off Lenox Avenue
Thelonious is dead

Tonight’s a lazy rhapsody of shadows
Swaying to blue vertigo and metaphysical funk
Black trees in the wind
Crepescule with Nellie plays inside the bowed head
“Dig the Man Ray of piano!”
O satisfaction
Hot fingers blur on those white ribbed keys
Coming on the Hudson
Monk’s Dream
The ghost of be bop from 52nd street
Footprints in the snow
Damn February

Let’s go to Mintons and play “modern malice” till daybreak

Lord, there’s Thelonious
Wearing that funky old hat pulled down over his eyes