GOODBYE PORKPIE HAT

I college, I was fascinated by the Beat Generation. Perhaps there is always something nostalgic about the  generation previous to one’s own. I lived the 60’s as a child and thought I knew what that was about. I thought the 50’s Beatnik Culture was cool, full of exotic intellectuals and countercultural icons like Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassidy, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I liked that Beat Poetry was accessible, unedited and authentic. I now know it was somewhat cheaply constructed, intellectually gaudy, and the the writers had bad teeth and poor hygiene. I no longer read Beat Poetry, but I cannot deny that it influenced my life and my writing during my late adolescent yearnings.

Goodbye Porkpie Hat is a track from Charles Mingus’ 1959 album, Mingus Ah, Um.  Sonny Rollins is a jazz saxaphonist with a career spanning from 1949 to today. Pall Mall was one of several brands of unfiltered cigarettes popular during the 50’s.

========================================

GOODBYE PORKPIE HAT

Then he found himself

pulling a dust record

from its worn torn cover:

“Mingus – Ah Um”

the tenor sax wails

over the static

in monophonic infidelity;

a music displaced

in time.

The images rise in a Proustian rush

within the Coney Island

of his mind

Jack and Neal

On The Road

with Al

smoking Pall Mall

at two AM

in a hazy cafe

somewhere

in the

Village

while Sonny

wrought soul

out of brass.

We was cool, Dad

and I

am still

waiting…

Unresolved, the last chord fades

into the hum

of a flickering vacuum tube,

He wakes to find

his goatee

        grey

his espresso

decaffeinated.

KURT BIEHL ©1984

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