Billie Holiday At Her Last Recording Session
The Jazz Singer
Sings The Blues*
I'm too sick to stand
steady and y'all expect me
to sing out for you -
to stay in front of
the band and belt this damn tune.
My friend Mick said, "Get
the picture?" and by
God, I really got it sure.
I really got it.
Sure I do, Sweetie.
So here goes nothin', you guys-
Here I go for you.
June 11, 2016 4:48 AM
(Introducing the last song of the last set, four months before dropping dead.)
*Written in remembrance of Ms. Billie Holiday of whom Wiki writes:
"By early 1959 Holiday had [severe symptoms of ] cirrhosis of the liver. She stopped drinking on doctor's orders, but soon relapsed. By May she had lost 20 pounds (9 kg). Friends, jazz critic Leonard Feather, her manager Joe Glaser, and photojournalist and editor Allan Morrison unsuccessfully tried to get her to a hospital.
"On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York for treatment of liver and heart disease. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, under the order of Harry J. Anslinger, had been targeting Holiday since at least 1939. She was arrested and handcuffed for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided and she was placed under police guard. On July 15, she received the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and died two days later on July 17, 1959 at 3:10 a.m. from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver."
One final note: The poem is comprised of my own words and images and not really directly anything Ms. Holiday may have heard, seen or said herself. I am alone as has been my early morning habit nearly all my life. This poem represents my own journey if anyone's. Mostly, I compose my poetry as tiny short stories and not about my own life so much.
While at this moment, I am not at all conflicted, I too have felt the curse of the artist's yearning. I have been a singer, chiefly in groups, and a musician on guitar and keyboard, a long time poet, and a bad drunk as well. I sobered up in 1983. To my knowledge, I do not have cirrhosis, but I have diabetes, atrial fibrillation, edema and risk heart failure and stroke. I have made it to my seventies. Ms. Holiday died at 44.