Robert K. Johnson
Born in New York City (in Elmhurst), I lived in several different places there but have memories only of The Bronx (off Fordham Road). Then my family moved out "on The Island"—to Lynbrook, where we stayed till I graduated from Hofstra (then a College). Several years after my wife, Pat, and I married, we, plus our two children, settled in the Boston area and have remained there (except for my daughter, Kate, who has lived in Manhattan for quite a while). I have been writing poetry since I was twelve (many moons ago).
IF THERE'S A HEAVEN
it is Birdland in 1956
at one-thirty on a weekend night.
Dizzy Gillespie's combo plays
"A Night in Tunisia" or Count Basie--
"April in Paris."
Half the peak crowd,
out for excitement and now satisfied,
has drifted away, and the mood in the room
is no longer revved up, is relaxed
as the curls of cigarette smoke that float
toward the ceiling.
The once-busy bar
serves only six or seven people
who lean on the counter and nurse their drinks
as if time didn't matter.
Some tables are empty,
the tops already cleaned and set up
for tomorrow; at the other tables
people talk softly or not at all,
just sit back and sip their drinks
while the soloists, moving beyond
the showy stuff, try out new ideas.
Everyone is content to be
where they always wanted to be.
©2018 Robert K. Johnson
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