He started on the violin,
scraping the strings into surprising
sweetness, but you can’t get a girl 

with a lump of wood under your chin.
He bought a saxophone,
Jazz, Be-Bop, Swing, Big Band.

He played with them all -
Goodman, Parker, Beatles.
Seventy years of making music.

His children forget these names.
They remember only his sayings.
The persistent piano chord

thumped out under any tune at all.
“When you get a good chord, stick to it.”
His faultless version of

“Suzanna’s a funniful man.”
And always, always the search
for his electric tango boots.

Diane Jackman

In the picture,
Bill is the man seated on the left with his head tilted back. Among the musicians he is drinking with are Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker.

If you have any comments on this poem,
Diane Jackman  would be pleased to hear from you.