Trombonology at Relative Esoterica has a wonderful post on the singer Mildred Bailey, born 105 years ago this past Wednesday. This post made me think of James Schuyler's poem "Let's All Hear It for Mildred Bailey!" It begins
The men's can at Café Society UptownI love the dowdy diction of this passage: the vulgar can next to the swank Café, the nifty outfit, the dressed hair, and of course, Sonny. You can read the poem here. I've taken the lines above from Schuyler's 1993 Collected Poems, where the punctuation differs slightly.
was need I say it? Upstairs
and as I headed for the stairs I
not about to fall
and Mildred Bailey
swept by in a nifty outfit:
cut in a simple suit-effect
studded with brass nail heads
(her hair dressed with stark simplicity)
"Take it easy, Sonny," she
advised me and passed on to the supper club
(surely no supper was
served at Café you-know-which?)
A star spoke to me
in person! No one
less than Mildred Bailey!
Schuyler's poem made me think of the various close encounters that my dad had when doing construction work in New York City and environs. He once met Doro Merande, who asked "What are you men building?" And he once said hello to Groucho Marx, who moved his eyebrows in response. I need to get a list. Until then, let's all hear it for Mildred Bailey, Doro Merande, Groucho Marx, and those wonderful people out there in the dark — i.e., us.
A related post
A poem for the day (by James Schuyler)
Mildred Bailey (Wikipedia)
Mildred Bailey (MySpace, with four songs)