Crepuscule With Nica

Welcome to New York why don’t you
Set your watch and mind to Nica-time
Day begins all night and runs for days

Her be-bop Bentley beams zaddik transmission
She beats the lights and smiles outrunning Miles
So help yourself to scotch it’s in the teapot

Half-parked at the Five Spot she walks full-ballerina
The drummer’s nodding wafer cymbals sizzle
‘Wild’ ‘amazing’ ‘Nica’s here tonight’

Then back home there’s hi-fi for each room
Except the bathroom where the baby-grand
Legs attract as scratching-posts for cats

‘The Cats!’ ‘The Cat-house!’ ‘Filled with Cats!’
‘Some three-legged some too-cool two-legged Cats’
So Sarah said of Weehawken – when Garbo came to tea

While Mister Monk will put on Astrakhan
Hat and coat composing
Confident intensities inside selected silences

Or Mister Silver sleek and fresh of moonlight
On posting his jazz messengers abroad
Wide awake composing ‘Nica’s Dream’

Rabbi Ginsberg has this Grace to say
‘Contrary to the American Dream
Time is not Money – but Music’

As joyfulness returns to jazz
Where deconstructed blues street meets
Atonal spirituality

So welcome to the world why don’t you
Set your heart and soul to ‘Nica’s Tempo’ –
What is true in time is true forever




Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer




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