Treasure Island

John Courtney

(05-22-1982 / Philadelphia)

Freshwater Bass


Charles Mingus sends
soft hydraulic thunder
eastbound across the
Los Angeles freeway.

His grandfather joins
from a south that seems
chained to the bottom
of a Mississippi River.

These four eyes cure 14
year old Charles Mingus Sr.
from a strange white house
of twisted oak flooring.

A son's proud heart booms
calling cello and trombone
to ride them all back home
around raindrops headed west.

Charles Mingus pauses
before his fingertips
open an empty smog of
windows, his future
fixed to longing, his
ears find harmony in
the shadows of a blank
page where he plays his
song to the Atlantic
ocean,1957.

He scribbles furiously
from a black page but
mostly he smiles at
the rest of his feet.

I think of my grandfather
Jack at the top a mountain
and John Sr. living now
in northern California.

My proud heart booms
hearing cello and trombone
as I scribble furiously
the first line of my poem
'Charles Mingus'.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
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(for my father)

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