Bix Festival

Jazz flows across the Mississippi.

A polite and encouraging announcer presents:
   a businessman from Davenport,
   a chiropractor with
   his brother from Sacramento,
   a lawyer from Moline,
   a Catholic priest from Argentina,
   and a band leader from Orlando.

They will play jazz.
"The way it is supposed to be played," he said.
"The way Bix would have liked it."

I wander the levee toward the roller dam
   where water churns.

A collector, steeped in passion,
   and at home,
   makes piles of Beiderbecke 78s...

He might say,
to the gathered musicians, 
"These songs sound mighty good,"
yet prefer the dust and scratches
of his collected disks.

Water churns through the dam.

I consider when there was no jazz to remember,
   before the grid of streets and buildings,
   and return to a native place.

In a heartbeat of clarity and intuition I see...
   famous forebears surveying the plats...
   and wonder what happened 
   to Black Hawk's bones.

While jazz flows across the river.

~ Undated from some summer in the 1970s

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