-For Billie Holiday


Your voice carried this rasp
That modern technology cannot hide
It’s evident
When the opening lines of I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Strange Fruit or God Bless the Child drop
It startles us; and
We are all emotionally naked
Lain bare at the feet of such raw feelings
These songs couldn’t have been more
Had you bled into them.

You are celebrated,
They tell your stories,
Play your songs in commercials, and
Revere you as one of the greats.
And it only took 57 years after your death.
We wear that Southern flower in out hair in tribute.
Audra McDonald testifies at an altar on Broadway to your greatness.

You see
we are your legacy
Not just those who look like you
Or struggled like you
But everyone who loves music,
Who has a soul, who has ever felt
The world crumbling around them,
Or the need to lose themselves in the abyss.
For us,
You are a ray of light

You are more than history
You are the next breath
In a world where the stench occasionally causes you to want to hold it.


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