Five Spot Cafe

Downtown New York:
I Walk and Don’t Walk
across the steaming street,
sidewalk heat beneath my feet

Me on the Bowery
(They warned me not to come)
stepping over derelicts,
avoiding drunken bums.
‘Hi there pretty boy,’
calls a shadow by a wall,
‘C’mon along ’n have a ball.’

Someone looms up in my space,
knife in hand, snarl on face,
‘One of us is goin’ to step aside, pal,
and it ain’t goin’ to be me.’
So I step aside
and, dear God, apologise.

At last I see the Five Spot light
and Jesus, man, it’s outta sight ’
Dizzy Gillespie’s here till morn
blowing his soul on his crumpled horn.

This is me on the Bowery
and I’m feeling fine ’
Five Spot Cafe jazz
in 1959.