The Jazz of East New York
He was knee-deep into his 80s, when he first strode into my exam room with a
smooth, arthritic strut.
He wore a pencil mustache underneath a fedora and a loose-fitting, African patterned print
in beige, black and gold.
With a slow dexterous turn, he sat down in my chair and extended the brass handle of his
walking stick without a word.
And that’s how he spoke; with an understated regard for the essential, while remaining tight-
lipped about the rest.
It was as if to say, that almost anything can be said with the three buttons on a trumpet or
the slide of the trombone
He admitted that, “He couldn’t put a finger on,” when he’d last seen an eye doctor, “but there
had been another nice fella–
Didn’t remember any talk about glaucoma, though” Either way, I said, “You ought to follow
up with one of us, because–
this stuff can sneak up on you.” And as he turned to leave, he replied, “Well then, I think I’ll just
lay with you for a while.”