Barry Gifford: Ode to Jerry

  Barry Gifford

  Ode to Jerry


My old friend Jerry Rosen
told me he used to stand
under the air conditioner
in the back of the room
at the Five Spot in New York
and listen to Monk, Coltrane,
Wilbur Ware and Shadow Wilson
every chance he got
for the six months that quartet
was together — ‘This was in 1957,
before Coltrane went out
on his own,’ Jerry said
‘Trane learned about beauty
from Monk — just listen
to their recording of
“Ruby, My Dear”’
Shadow Wilson died in 1959,
Coltrane next, then Monk —
Now Jerry’s gone, too.
I think about him every time
I hear “Ruby My Dear”
It’s a gift, recognizing beauty
in any form — Monk and Trane
were lucky to have had Jerry
listening to them



Barry Gifford’s most recent books are The Up-Down, a novel; Writers, short plays; and New York, 1960, poems. Painting of Barry Gifford my Michael Cronan.


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