I used to walk past Sassy’s crib a couple times a week, when young
And each time say, “That’s Where Sarah Vaughn lives.”
That was when Symphony Sid used to call her, “The Divine One,” Late nights, from hip Bird Land
Oh man, what a feeling that was Divine & so hip & so very beautiful.
The house is gone now Symphony Sid too
As for the town, now Sassy told us just before she split
I’m gone, now Send in
In 1949 Sarah Vaughan with her manager and then-husband George Treadwell bought a three-story house at 21 Avon Avenue. Her parents, Asbury and Ada Vaughan, moved from her childhood home on Brunswick Street into the two lower floors, while she and Treadwell occupied the top floor. By then, however, touring and recording kept the singer away from Newark for extended periods.
“Lullaby of Avon Ave.” appeared in the 1996 collection Funk Lore and the Summer 1996 issue of Journal of New Jersey Poets.
I CAN BE THE BEAUTIFUL BLACK MAN because I am the beautiful black man, and you, girl, child nightlove, you are beautiful too. We are something, the two of us the people love us for being though they may call us out our name, they love our strength in the midst of, quiet, at the peak of, violence, for the sake of, at the lust of pure life, WE WORSHIP THE SUN,
We are strange in a way because we know who we are. Black beings passing through a tortured passage of flesh.
These lines are from Black Art, published in 1966.
Who are you? A lost brother. A singer. A song I lost, almost, sat up one night, itched till it came to me, cried one night, happy that it played through me.
Little Brown Jug. Nigger Brother. Dust singer in the shadow of old fences. Companion, of melody rhythm turned around heart runs climbed & jumped screaming WE ARE GODS, as we sailed years through the firmament landing beside a garage, Dear brother, song slides the streets, circles the cold, sweats on summer fruit, Oh I love my black energy & lost brother father serenade me, as world-solo, the spirits bubble, loft, & say where you are. I suffer to hear you so tough & know all the spooks who need to.
In the 1964 essay “Hunting is Not Those Heads on the Wall,” Amiri Baraka (as LeRoi Jones) famously wrote: “Art is one of many products of thought. An impressive one, perhaps the most impressive one, but to revere art, and have no understanding of the process that forces it into existence, is finally not even to understand what art is.”
“Little Brown Jug” is from Black Art, published in 1966.
The magic of the day is the morning I want to say the day is morning high and sweet, good morning.
The ballad of the morning streets, sweet voices turns of cool warm weather high around the early windows grey to blue and down again amongst the kids and broken signs, is pure love magic, sweet day come into me, let me live with you and dig your blazing
“Ballad of the Morning Streets” is from the collection Black Art, published in 1966.
First, feel, then feel, then read, or read, then feel, then fall, or stand, where you already are. Think of your self, and the other selves . . . think of your parents, your mothers and sisters, your bentslick father, then feel, or fall, on your knees if nothing else will move you, then read and look deeply into all matters come close to you city boys— country men Make some muscle in your head, but use the muscle in yr heart
“Young Soul” appeared in Black Magic, a collection of poems composed between 1961 and 1967.