CHET - FROM A WINDOW
(in memory of Chet Baker 1929 -1988)
The constant onslaught of Amsterdam
surged through Zeedijk
on that hot night
when a full moon
flying to your death.
In your room,
in the Prins Hendrik Hotel,
your clothes lay
in your suitcase,
with your body
a foetus on the street below.
Great white hope
a love for heroin never shaken.
Sorrow was your stuff,
an excess of gloom
This undernourished and parched body,
a singing corpse,
searching for an uncollapsed vein,
an expert driver hating the road
and the bleak hotel of his doom.
Such a foolish love.
Oklahoma farmboy on a golden trumpet,
his teeth knocked out in San Francisco,
become chained to an album a day
for a thousand dollars in cash.
And the Italian you learned in a Lucca jail,
your spirit surviving its deportation,
a lonely and melancholy master drifter
touched the soul.
Friday 13th May 1988,
Chet’s heart stopped
and his horn
lost its tongue.