Birth of the Cool

July 18, 2008
By Jordan Franklin, Brooklyn, NY

Beat the drum-
And let its racuous laughter
Precipitate into rolls
That carry the wind instruments
Safely along their journey
To Freedom-
Like Harriet Tubman
On the Underground Railroad.

Let the brass horn sound
Like a rallying cry
That takes the form of
"We Shall Overcome"
"We Shall Overcome"...
Take that horn and let it resound
Loud as the rolling sea,
And let the waves break
Into lofty scat singing
From ladies
With blue flowers in their hair
Who cushion your bottoms
With blue notes so low
You're not afraid to fly
Or jump off that ledge...

This beauty,
Is more than a beat
Or a horn
Or a piano coming through
Like ongoing traffic
To those who need a way to wind down...
It is a language
Taken straight from the cotton fields
To tense eardrums...
This music,
Is my people-
Is a movement
That has been here
Since the rise of slavery
To the setting of Jim Crow.

This music-
This movement that creates
And is created
Is the Black spirit,
Forged in the mountains of Africa
And housed in every Ebony temple
That were oppressed
And dared to dream...

The beat may stop,
And the brass may lose its shine
But the Black heart won't stop beating.

Let my blue lady
Scat loudly into the night
Until her throat grows horse.

Time erodes everything
But it won't erode the movement-
Or the music.

The author's comments:
I love music, especially singing. At the time of that poem's birth, I was casted as Billie Holiday in a school play about jazz. I asked my choir teacher if I could write a poem to start the play off with and that is it.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Swoon Reads

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!