For Jazz

                Slim Gaillard

The faces came from Hollywood, Marlene, Judy,
Ava and Clark, affecting A-vout-routie,
To hear Slim serenade sunbathing at Laguna,
Bagels and avocado seeds, or imitate some moony
Cuban balladeer, or radio comercial. In between he
requested Leo Watson, like some manic scat hyena,
Or shrill Bam Brown to lacerate some tune he
Conjugated with inflections in the King’s O’roonie.
He played at times a trenchant swing guitar,
And sparse piano, knuckles-downward style,
The while he’d entertain some slumming movie star
With a mystic, foxy, heavy-lidded smile.
This was the line in which he dealt with fame:
‘Hey, Mickey Rooney, what’s your second name?’