“Naima” for John Coltrane – by Kamau Brathwaite

“Naima” for John Coltrane

Propped against the crowded bar
he pours into the curved and silver horn
his old unhappy longing for a home

the dancers twist and turn
he leans and wishes he could burn
his memories to ashes like some old notorious emperor

of rome, but no stars blazed across the sky when he was born
no wise men found his hovel, this crowded bar
where dancers twist and turn

holds all the fame and recognition he will ever earn
on earth or heaven, he leans against the bar
and pours his old unhappy longing in the saxophone.


Kamau Brathwaite, 1946–

“Naima” from Jah Music
© 1975 Edward Kamau Brathwaite

John Coltrane | Photo: Chuck Stewart

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