Yinka Elujoba

Around 1am, a night like any other. I walked off the R train into a furious wind on Broadway, the beginnings of Goodbye Pork Pie Hat in my ears. I shivered at the burden in the throats of everyone on the track. Mingus recorded it 60 years ago on this same street, in honor of Lester Young. Two months earlier that year, "Les the Pres" had been laid to rest. His sad life was finally over. I imagined his tenor and clarinet lying beside him in his coffin, never again to float their soft throaty sound. Poor Les, but this life. Mingus was on the bass now, in honor, his large presence filling the night as I walked. The almost silent chimes of Dannie on the drums. All the lights from the cars. Cold water in my shoes. And that incredible tenor solo, was it Ervin or Handy?
The rain was starting to pour, the street emptying. Horace on the piano. I passed by a restaurant filled with candlelights. A woman outside on a red chair, her head in her hands, her mass of blonde hair fluttering in the wind. The way her body rocked slowly, I could have sworn she was weeping. I sat beside her in the rain and said nothing. Mingus from 60 years ago, still in my ears. Why did they have to lose Les to make such a song? And you, where are you now? I do not need to lose you to know I love you.

03:47am on 10, April 2019


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