THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS: Savannah Churchill

13 02 2009

THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS:
Savannah Churchill

A series of unexplainable. Out of the blue. Wonderful events. Occurred. Like they were all part of a plan. Written in the stars by mad illiterate fools. Began quietly in a noisy time. 1920. Gin, rum, and whiskey. Got married. To David. Oh, how she loved to say his name. When he was gone to work. David. When he fell between her legs. David. When they stood outside in the late July sun and ate ice cream. Soon there was two little dodgers. In 1941. In Brooklyn. How could anything be finer? The rustle of her dress across the hardwood floor. The smell of combava garlic ginger. Those lovely evenings with your arms wrapped around his shoulders. The jingle of glass. The skid of tires. Husband framed in a windshield. Widow without a moment to breath. No time for retrospection. Got to feed those… a satin voice. A red velvet dress. Those shy fragile shoulders. Morning spent in hot house bars. With strangers. What do they want from me? Music spilling her name in lights. Almost forgetting why she was there. Almost forgetting… him. David, her voice in the dark. It happened too easily. A drunkard ended her career, the soused guy fell on her from the balcony of the club she was performing at in 1956, causing her to suffer long, debilitating injuries that she succumbed to 18 years later, April 19, 1974. That’s what they wrote. As if any of it made any sense. But when the stars fade. And the darkness meets the cold. There will still be her voice. Whispering, David. Why did you leave?
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THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS: Dinah Washington

13 02 2009

THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS:

Dinah Washington

The smoke filled her words, filled her lungs. In those curse filled rooms, gentlemen held the knees of their nieces. Under the table. As the beautiful negro singer moved through the spot light. Like a butterfly on the end of a pin. The piano keys rattled. Automobiles waited in the garage. Filling the air with song. Carbon monoxide is such a sweet drink in the late evening. Thump thump goes the base line. Fatalistic. No sense of humour. Everyone knew what was coming. Her voice so light. Drifted off into the late evening air. Dresses fell over bony knees. Promises were made. Kisses were laid. She placed the microphone next to her lips. Ladies and gentleman, I am an evil gal. I have been married 8 times. Who would have thought there were so many Sundays? She was doing gigs in clubs as Dinah Washington while singing and playing piano in Sallie Martin’s gospel choir as Ruth Jones. She never knew where she was at. Loved to wear mink. In the pouring rain. Some said that mink was her real skin. Sang in the choir. Sang from the gutter. A couple of 45-caliber pistols in her purse. I like company. And I know some men are… frightened of me. A bottle of sleeping pills. Laying so helpless on its side. Some of the pills had escaped. Into her empty stomach. And what would she have said? To the audience which waited on her next breath? So many evenings I wanted to die but this wasn’t one of them.
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