AfroPoets Famous Writers

We Say, Bechet

they say Bechet
was the only man born
whose solos could silence Louie Armstrong
by simply the awesome strength of melodious song
ringing resplendent in dulcet tones
through the bell of Sidney's serpentine saxophone

they say Bechet
was a Creole colored Black man
who ventured forth to France land
to get closer to Africa his beloved
albeit estranged ancestral homeland

they say Bechet
was an hombre of straight backed pride
with a quick silver temper he seldom bottled inside
and the swiftness of a pugilist in his ability to settle scores
and, mano a mano, to batter open doors

they say Bechet
was possessed by the gris gris of his grandfather
who had impassionately danced beneath tall oak trees
in the sunshine of Sunday breeze
during weekly place de Congo gatherings
and that this same Bechet directly inspired the afro-blue blowing
of Coltrane's adoption of the gypsy drone
that undulating high pitched moan
articulated in spirit conjuring tongues & shot flickering hot
out of the damballa tubing of a b-flat soprano saxophone

they say Bechet
when they don't know what else to say
Bechet when they speak admiringly
of an exotic untamed noir beauty
Bechet when they search diligently
for lions within the aural jungles of the 20th century
Bechet of the sweeping vibrato undammable
as the torrential flow of the mighty Mississippi
Bechet of amazingly graceful creativity
fierce as the hand wrought iron filigrees
of Black diasporan new world melodies

Bechet, Bechet, Bechet
is what they say
when they mean to mark the beginning,
the genesis of the Black man's astonishing
affair d'amour with the hybrid horn
Adolph named the saxophone

Bechet they say
oh how seriously huge this gigantic petite fleur played
this majestic musicianeer Bechet
whose mournfilled joy remains today
the birth cry of Black music's jazz ascendency

Bechet, Bechet, Bechet
we say

Written by Kalamu Ya Salaam


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