So many dead
Their spread legs and yellow smoke fingernails
Where is your family Janis Joplin?
ificent garden Nico?
you trade for those standing ovations Tammy Terrell
I know you never wanted the good life Wendy O
But what of life after 50?
When you stopped looking like such a bad bitch
crashing cars and eating pussy
You didn't become batty
No one called you "past your prime"
No afterthought obituary for you
Bessie you're the most tragic
Your death transcends
And Billie you never had a chance
Death followed you
Perhaps tapped you on the shoulder
on a late Harlem night
then walked away
But what happened to the Sunday brunches Lady Day?
The autumn years of red and orange New York landscapes?
What was the price you paid for your nights on the stage?
It was in sons and daughters, toddler joy and infant hilarity
Replaced by history books and magazine articles
box sets and dinner conversation
No lineage for you girls
Only morbid memories
of vagina heroin
motel hotel love