Peter Chapman Poetry


for Richard B.

Jazz is the music America gave the world. Jazz comes from blues and blacks. People say
there's one kind, the one that improvises, risks bad notes, strains your mind, that's the one
to listen to. Miles, Bird, Trane, Monk, Mingus. They're the cats had it. And Dizzy. But
Dizzy was different. Dizzy was nice. He liked people. He played a horn that got bent by
accident. He liked the horn pointing up like that. It looked weird. He looked weird
playing it, the way his cheeks blew up like weather.

He knew this and he got it sometimes, some of it. They talked about Dizzy and he heard
them say this and that and thought how do they know that? They'd play Dizzy's jazz then
describe what he was getting into. They'd give Dizzy amazing due. That was amazing
they'd say. Did you hear that? They got it.

Dizzy taught music so he didn't try to be mysterious or vague. He got it himself and he
wanted to give it to you. Whatever you got was okay but if you got most of it the
implication was you'd live better. Things that disturbed your friends wouldn't be that bad
for you because you got the stuff in those notes Dizzy was blowing.