Bang, You're Dead


1964 - 1968


"Bang, You're Dead, Motherfucker!"


October ’69, the band and I
had just finished a gig
at the Blue Coronet in Brooklyn.


I had driven my new flame,
Marguerite, back to her place.
We were parked alongside the curb.


We were mindin’ our business,
just talkin’, kissin’ a bit –
you know, doin’ stuff lovers do –


This car with three black dudes
pulls up next to mine.
I don’t pay it much mind.


I’m thinkin’ maybe these guys
had heard us at the club,
just wanted to say hi.


I turn to acknowledge them
when – bang, bang, bang –
one cat squeezes off a round.


Shit! My left side stings
but I’m too shocked
to be scared. My eyes are wide.


The fuckers peel out,
are half way up the block
before I know what’s happened.


There musta been five holes
in the side of my Ferrari,
but they missed Marguerite.


I would have bit it
right then and there,
but I was wearin’ a leather coat.


It was long and loose-fitting.
It and that fine-crafted door
musta slowed down the bullets some.


But – what the fuck –
I didn’t have a damn clue
who these chuckleheads were –


let alone why the motherfuckers
wanted to put my black ass
in the freakin’ cold ground.


Marguerite’s freaked too,
but we manage to get inside
and call the cops.


Two white dicks show up
and start to search my car!
Claim to find some tea to boot!


Now anyone who knows me
knows I don’t like marijuana
and never liked to toke.


So this is some sad fucker’s
bad idea of a joke.
Pure harassment, nothin’ else.


They just didn’t figger
no fine-dressed nigger
could be with such a fine woman –


and own a Ferrari –
unless he was a pimp
or drug dealer or somethin’.


The honky yokels didn’t approve
of such a light-skinned beauty
swappin’ spit with me is all.


Eventually though I got the story.
Some black promoters were pissed
that I hadn’t cut them in.


White promoters were handling
all my bookings, so I must be
some Jim Crow motherfucker.


Like I need to get it
up the ass from an angry brother!
Man, life is a bitch sometimes!


Anyway, I offered five grand
for information. A few weeks later
learn the cat who popped me’s dead.


The cat who told me
didn’t tell me the shooter’s name.
Only that the jiveass got his back.


Someone on the street
didn’t approve of the treatment
I’d received and got even.



But now this story follows me around
of how I hired a hit man,
am suddenly The Prince of Darkness.


Man, I’m a nigger scorned, that’s it.
All I ever had to say
I’ve said through my black horn.


But shit clings to you, you know.
And my past ain’t never goin’ away.
I’m the junky pimp trumpet player.


I gotta be some badass super dude
to deflect bullets and keep my
black ass outta jail.


Man, what’s a motherfucker to do
when white folks keep playin’
that sorry ol’ tune?



Richard Stevenson's Miles Davis long poem sequence
Version 1.0  © 1997
Presented: September 10, 1997
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