Found his way to Birdland,
Valhalla of the jazzmen.
Played his horn like an angel whispering,
Not a warrior bearing his weapon.
All the beauty was on the stand,
Darkness all else.
But if your darkness be light,
O, how great the light!
Sought by Hollywood in his youth,
James Dean's worthy heir.
Killed himself more slowly,
But we were no less fascinated.
The standard songs with the standard changes,
Conventional to the last:
His 50's gospel, the sated man of alley and bandstand,
The perfect fix, the perfect note.
"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy":
A better tale than a triumph,
In a world that lives out its woes,
One song at a time.