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Two Poems


Maria Fama

WATCHING DIZZY GILLESPIE ON TV

Dizzy Dizzy
Chipmunk sweet Chipmunk blow sweet notes
Notes blue and hot and cool and bop do what

Do scat with Hendricks just hands
hands and mouth
hand to microphone to mouth to phone
phone do phone do phone do saxophone

Due due due due what
What dues are due due due we we we
Try to be so cool together
paying dues be dues

Bop Do Bop Do Bop Do Bop Do We

We when we when we when
We saw each other last
it felt right right oh right alright
nothing holding back do back do back due
We you we you we you
You called me back, do back, due show
do show it was a shadow a shadow
in your voice I thought trouble trouble
Trouble and oooh and oooh ooh ooh

sweetheart sweetheart
I can’t can’t can’t
get through through through
I told you you you you
love love love I love love love
you be do you be do
but you but you oooh you
said yes, oh yes, yes, yes
and what I thought and what
the hell does that mean?
you said it sweet yes and yes and yes
But Bay Be Bay Be Bay Be Bay you
Wha wha wha what can it mean?

Za Za Za Za
Max Roach is on the High Hat Cymbal
High Hat HI HI High High a Hat
Za Za Za MMMMNNNN Zim Zim
Zimma Zimma Zimma Zimma
Simmer Simmer Simmmmerrrr
I’m scared and mad and mad
and scared and wha wha wha why
Zim Zim do zim do zim do do
do do do you just say yes
and not I love you, too, too, too, toooeee
Zimm who’s there Zimm who’s there Zim with you
Do zista do zista do zista

Dissa Dissa Zimma Diss Diss Diss
Disappeared you went and disappeared
off the line
Behind the dip do dip do dip zim zim
and I can’t say love oh love oh love
and now I say yeah baby yeah baby
yeah baby do dit do dik do dik you
zim bad zim bad another sister hey sister
like in grade school all I could say was
yes sister yes sister yes sister
scared and mad yes sister

Gerry Mulligan is playing hothot hot hot
The Hot Society Hot Society
old clips of Charlie Parker
The Bird flying flying flying
flying and he’s dead on the videotape
To To To Toooh Bad la la la la
Zim do zim sweet sweet sweet

I try to write right write right
write right oh do do do you you
are you scared some people will say you
go with a nut
Tut Tut Tut Sax Saxo Saxo
Saxophone oh that phone phone
phone the last phone call and then
you diss diss diss disappeared

Frank Foster and Dizzy on the special
Dizzy on the special on the horn
horn horn that special special horn
oooh oooh oooh a phone
The Night in Tunisia
wind blow hot wind blow hot
wind in the phone sax oh sex oh phone
wind wind wind and win win win
win a song from the des from the des
from the desert the desert the des des
desk win a pub pub pub do zim
do zim publishing contract tracts
on track on zim do zim do zim do
tract tract tract tract

Ter ter ter ter teres teres teresa
Teresa was a sa sa sa saint
Saint Teresa Saint Teresa Saint Teresa of Avila
wrote she wrote she wrote a lot
lot lot lot lot do zim do tracts do wha
about she wrote about
an angel piercing her heart heart heart
with a with a with a
flaming flaming flaming arrow
whoa whoa whoa whoa
They made her a saint.

Dizzy play Dizzy play St. Dizzy
play Charlie Bird Charlie Bird
Charlie Bird Parker is a saint
is a saint do phone do phone do saxophone
whoa whoa oh woe woe woe
Dizzy’ll be Dizzy’ll be
be bop do bop be bop be be
A Saint
Trumpet cool Trumpet hot
do what do what flaming arrow trumpet
hot do hot be bop be bop cool
cool coolie oh coolie oh
could could could
They make me a saint?

Do saint do do saint ‘cause I write
about your yes oh yes oh yes and the pain
and the hot do hot of hurt and
chest heart oh chest heart hurt
do hot hurt do hot
Zimm and the Zimm and the Sim
when the phone hangs up and the
line is cold and you’re gone
and gone and gone and cool cool
cool and cold and cold and
the words words words are all
brok brok brok en en en
oh do you do you broken and the heart
and the heart is pow is pow pow pow
do what do what
is power and be oh be oh
love love love lovely lovely
and zim crash zim crash and Zim

The comets come round thy
come round and around and around
and around and get famous
do I do I do I do I do I
wa wa wa want to
be famous yes famous and
no no no no no no no
noticed and walk and write
and walk and do bop do bop
do bop and be read oh read
oh ready yes ready and read.

Dizzy, oh St. Dizzy oh
St. Dizzy we working all
the same and saying and playing
and swinging and singing
Do Dizzy St. Dizzy oh
and it’s all be do be do be do be
do be bop oh bop do zim
about love and love and yes.




COMARI

My comari, my co-marys, my co-marias
Comari, Comari, Comari, Comari
we are rich we are strong
in comari tradition
comari, comari, comari, comari
My comari, my co-mary’s, my co-marias
I tell you now
a story of my Aunt
the story of Zia Angelina
proud and regal with burning black eyes
she had a comare
a dear comare
a beautiful comare a loving comare
Comare Comare Comare Comare Maria
they lived they lived two
they lived two doors away
from each other
these comari comari comari comari
Angelina e Maria
Maria e Angelina
They passed they passed
they passed
they have since passed
but when but when
but when
they were alive
alive alive alive alive
when they were alive
they passed flowered china dishes
filled with delicacies
to each other
they passed dishes of
tortellini in brodo
merluzzo in bianco
insalata d’arugula
these comari comari comari comari
Comare Angelina Comare Maria
late afternoons they sipped
they sipped and dipped
they sipped espresso
they dipped biscotti
in late afternoons they sipped and dipped
before before before
the husbands
before before before
the suppers
they sipped and dipped
before the suppers and husbands
filled their homes
these comari comari comari comari
They remembered these comari
each name day
each birthday
always a greeting card these comari
comari comari comari comari
inside and outside
dishes coffee greeting cards
through South Philadelphia streets
far from their Sicilian town
they made do
they had to
they made do
with dishes coffee greeting cards

Once once once
Comare Comare Comare Maria’s birthday
her birthday was coming
Comare Comare Comare Angelina
made spumetti
she made spumetti from eggwhites and nuts
eggwhites and nuts and sugar
sweets for her Comare Comare Comare Maria
then Angelina went
Comare Angelina went she went
Comare Angelina went to the Avenue to buy a card
a beautiful card a beautiful birthday card
for her Comare Comare Comare Maria
Angelina read cards that said Happy Birthday
No good no good no good
too plain too plain
for the beautiful beautiful Comare Comare Comare Maria
Angelina read cards that said Happy Birthday Friend
No good no good no good
no words to describe
the dear, the dearer, the dearest
Comare Comare Comare Maria
Angelina read cards that said Happy Birthday Sister
No good no good no good
too boring, too boring
not love enough
for the lovely and loving and loved
Comare Comare Comare Maria
Angelina read cards that said Happy Birthday Husband
and there and there and there
was the perfect card
there was the perfect card
for the beautiful, the dear, the loving
Comare Comare Comare Maria

Angelina bought that card
she bought the To My Dear Husband card
she bought it and loved it
and took it home
where she took a pen a black pen
she took a black pen
she crossed out Husband
she crossed that word right out
she crossed out Husband and wrote Comare
in her Italian script
TO MY DEAR COMARE
the words all fit
the words inside and outside
the card her heart
the words all fit
they fit she knew they fit
inside and outside
she knew they fit her
Comare Comare Comare Maria
Angelina’s Comare Maria.