If I wasn’t a musician, I’d be a boxer with the flurry
of a depressed southpaw. I’m a midwestpaw, Little Bird
eating feathers for protein. My trumpet is the hue of a fist
fight. It undoes the cool & dismembers the post-bop.
One blow puts weight on the face, a heaviness depending
on how much makes a night club buzz. When I say, blow,
I know Negroes only have a puncher’s chance. I once saw
Sugar Ray Robinson working a speed bag & thought
my breath could be his hands. I saw him knock a man out
with a shot to the body, a right hook that put one hundred sixty
pounds on his opponent’s kidneys. Like a gavel, the way
the body hit the canvas, disturbed me. It was a knowledge I was
trying to avoid. My sweet science, we got the anatomy wrong—
the sternum weakens like a chin, the mouth widens like a lung.