I used to think
that if I called enough hip cats "cats"
that I might impress all the hip chix.
are you diggin 'how I'm slingin' my
like there was no tomorrow
'cept that in his yesterday
my granddad never said "dig" once
without regards to a shovel.
But don't get me wrong
my old man's old man was as cool as the
cucumbers he now coaxes through
but it wasn't like a
"Birth of the Cool" kinda cool
it was a
"Ridin' the rails from Louisiana to Montana
and back again in time for Mardi Gras
kinda Journey of Natty Gann" kinda cool.
He had this seasoned outlook on life
that made for great stories to tell us kids at
"Gather 'round ya little sonsabitches,
I wanna tell you a little somethin' 'bout my
He told us about the great World War II
never lifting up his pant leg to show a
shrapnel wound .
Y'see he wasn't in the mood to get shot up
no, his Tijuana Mood
took him south of this border
to some seedy Navy Port
where he was first in command over the
he used to hustle Navy drunks
who, at first glance, didn't think much
of this Pennsylvania Dutchman
what with his ratty clothes
and beet-red nose,
but, by the close of the night
they had lost six months and were forced to
"Saviors of the sea," with heads hung low
would have to half-heartedly paddle some
G.I. boat back to some drifting barracks
to tell some captain how they lost everything
damn slick Kraut-Mick Son of a Bitch.
Now, the old man,
he was tipsy sippin' the whiskey when he told
me this when I was six
but only after he had already kicked my ass
at German-Irish dominoes.
And that night,
Gramps was into me for sixty bones
before I even learned the old man's brand of
but sho' nuff
my mom fronted me the cash
leaving me to leave with my shirt
and as I left, he laughed
"You can't always hide behind your
Today I'm sure of that fact
and I'm also sure that
for the rest of my life he'll hold the
Blackjack Domino throne.
competition is a serious business in his
"Sinatra on the mantlepiece" household.
The house rules were taught on that old
He never gave me victory
"Nothin' is ever free in this mother-
It's what he taught me
it's how he lived his life
it's how he raised the kids
and those kids' kids come from his first and
But I dunno,
maybe the old school practical shit
just ain't enough to impress this era's
who boast their jazz references,
but I know that as a post-adolescent I expect
one day my head will exit the clouds
and stop just "talkin' tight"
start walkin' life
with responsible footsteps that don't tread so
starving for my art
but rather for enlarging my heart
to freely beat
a Love Supreme
I, at least have ideas for where I'm goin'
'cuz I've seen where Bill Brown's been.