The Hill District Rococo Jazz Carnival on Wylie Avenue


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Here it Goes!

In the Creation, there

With Saint Jazz,

Was The Horn

Wait for Charon;

I ferried with Cab Calloway

And saw John Coltrane blow

The Cajun columns down

On Wylie where the Haitians

Practiced Sugar Voodoo

That his Horn turned 

To Sound

The Hill was Black

Under a White sun

Black players were

Civilians; White

Spectators were

Jim Crow apostoles

Then someone shouted

ÔBlue Note is pleased to

Select the Hill as a Tenebrous

Carnival that breathes

Grandiose charm into 

The residents of Art.

Fresh and Icy dimples 

Pulsate on the faces

Of Gypsy Workers who 

Listen to the Gospel of

Ella and bask in the Sounds

Of Miles.

DonŐt hasten the rhythm;

Lucifer has not gazed

Upon the Dark Whites

Of their eyes, of Poolhall

Pimps and Club Celebrities.

Instead the Break mannah 

With Sin and Incest that are

Colored with the Jazzy Tapestry

Of Indulgence Hustlers

On the Hill, all

Color is black,

Except for the


Who fornicate 

With the

Dusty malletos 

Who sweat for a 

Dollar and Bleed

For a Hundred.

This evening, in

This Creation, I 

Saw Gospel 

Hypocrites washing

Their Face in

Kabooki, trying to

Paint Dignity Pink

And warm; they

Got wise Left

The race

Look at them

With their

Jumbo Neckties

And hair

Cut like

Fresh grass.

Watch then Dance

Like relight traffic

Rain pouring Mojo

Sugar down the Voice

Of lust.

The Carnival is

Dancing into a 

Hoodoo Baptist


It has spectators 

And Speakers from

The Grave and the Womb.

Seal up those

Images that swim

In Observance

Tame your actions 

To think your floating 

In a liquid Mardi Gras

Parade colored by a Sky

Of Ebony and lit by

A Sun of Turquoise

Where the Sandman punches

Holes in the eyelids of

Melting Children and

Parents baking Elephant ears;

The Apple crust air closes 

The celebration.

Inebriated quadrapiliacs back

Into the Miracles of Saint Bernadette

While the streets are strewn 


Tar spirits and Mint green 

Antique cars with Wax Figures

Whose straw hats hold keys to the

Next Armageddon.

Be late! Death arrives Early.

All celebrations have Ends.

(Credence is the 

New Colour of Deceit.)


© Mark Grago


Bio:  This is a poem from an entire series that Mark wrote that is the concern of the 'steeltown' culture he grew up near, which is the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He is a poet, author, photographer and youtuber. Please visit his website at