RD Armstrong read this poem

YardBird Burned

YardBird burned

All Wick -- No Candle

Made it to the sun and back

Unlike Icarus --

YardBird couldn’t burn out --

his spirit was the flame by which

HE burned.


YardBird burned

‘til there was only

a husk left

‘til all the notes --

the be-boppin’ bitty

black notes --

were piled at his feet

like cigar ash.



swung his sax

in a mighty arc

like an ax

spinning like

a Dervish


a niche

out of the


granite walls

of Swing-Jazz-Tradition.


YardBird shaped

a Bop See-gar-cough-a-gus

out of his to-brief-time

spent on planet Earth.

The Bop-line

firing volley after volley

of bitty-black notes

skyward -- unleashing

them like blackbirds

blotting out reality’s

harsh light ‘til

the wee-wee hours.


YardBird was never

at ease, at rest

Fingers always a blur




until time shifted gears

in self-defense --

into SLOW-motion then to



YardBird smiled ‘cause

only he saw the joke.


YardBird burned.

Did not really play

his sax -- it played him

Played him until his “reed”

fell apart -- broke down


Broke Bird down --

Time finished him

with a smile

on his face --

death by cosmic relief


You say it was H that

took his life but you

are wrong.

H lulled Mr Charley

into slowing down

Hip-no-(N)ticed him

H slowed him down --

promised him the means

to survive this heartbreak

We call surviving.


H slowed the bird down --

gave Time a clean shot.

Time took it from there.


YardBird Burns Still.


RD Armstrong


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