That Inner City Song by John Grey

It is a song

though notes are scattered and many.

A car horn beeps the intro to

the rhythmic boom-box heat.

Voices tune to the jazz licks of the streets,

blow solos, duets of conversation,

whole street vendor orchestras.

The sound of new shoes

taps down sidewalks,

so slick, you hear their shine.

Or rubber-soles drum

basketball courts

where dreams sweep glass,

pull weeds from cracks.

There’s brass in eager faces,

fuzz guitar strummed by

riotous gestures,

string sections sweet beneath the laughter,

passion jitterbugs

down piano keys of light and dark.


At night, another music

sweeps out the frantic blare of day:

pizzicato lights,

thumb-snapping clothes,

tambourine perfume.

The hours, the people,

the alleys, the apartments,

the stores, the office buildings:

all tunes, all ripe for playing.

In dusky clubs,

musicians take the stage,

jam to what’s been and gone

until it happens next.

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