Poem for Mingus

57 years, not long enough for a Charlie Mingus,
so much more music to make,
more cigars to toke up, more teeth to knock out,
and what about Epitaph? was it done Mingus?
there’s plenty of people to take those extra years from,
meth heads and republicans could serve humanity better
with a little less time walking around.
i know a few drunks that aren’t living well too.
but if we give some extra time to Mingus,
surely Basquiat deserves a few more months?
but can you give a junky extra time?
and who gives?
can we take from one junky artist and give to a
better junky artist?
what if they were going to get clean, in a week or two?
Should we give Braque some extra minutes also?
Or do you not like the cubists?
perhaps we should ask for volunteers,
transfusions of a sort, give up a little time,
maybe that time given up would be bad days anyway,
wasting away from liver cancer, or being beaten
by the day nurse in a final hellish room.
it sure would help humanity, or at least me,
to get things going in a more beautiful direction,
not a less dire, doomed direction by any means,
but a better view on the way down.