Coda by Yusef Komunyakaa dedicated to Charlie Parker


Charlie, there’s always another story

& this morning I’m searching again

for that photo of you & Einstein

horsing around for the Rolleiflex.

Or, maybe you’re only living

in New Hope with Chan, & on the bus

reading The New York Times,

heading to a gig in the Big Apple.

Or the Charlie in this story is Chaplin

clowning for the camera with Albert.

Or, maybe, I’ll search on the web

to see if I can buy a glimpse

of you from the other side,

while “Relaxin’ At Camarillo—Take C”

fills the room. That damn photograph

is still bugging me. He’s on his violin

& you’re on alto. Kansas City Lightning,

man, I think you already know Monk

& Baroness Pannonica are gone, too.

They took the plaque off the house

on the corner where you used to live

across from Tompkins Square Park,

but you’re still the most famous

guy on the street around here.