Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996)
A brown eyed girl. Unkept and notoriously shy. Sitting on a lonely window sill. Her knees under her chin. Poison heartache. Strumming the pain with her nails. The heat pipes are growling. Her stomach. Harmonizing. Outside the drunken sun has stumbled. Into an alley. Looking for someone to blame.
Night juiced up. Dressed up like a paramour. Wooing the ladies. Who have their hands in his pocket. And their knees on the floor. Little Ella worked the horror show. Ran numbers for her uncles. Rumble in the alley. She could hardly breathe. Ella was kidnapped by the Sisters of Mercy. And placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum. No one knew Ella’s name. But they beat her just the same.
Ella’s mother died of a heart attack. After a car accident. Ella’s life was charmed. Her living room was the street. Her bedroom. Was her lover’s arms.
One day she stumbled into the Apollo Theatre. Sang two songs. A gawk. She had eyes for a bigger prize. The belle of the ball. How that lady could scat. I don’t know if she was happy or sad. Someone said if she knew. She kept it to herself. All she heard were Gabriel’s golden horns. The rush of the percussion. That low road that simple strife. Where she stole notes from the birds. And sang for her life.
There are days. When it seems that darkness. Keeps you sane. Keeps you from seeing the thief. That steals your time. But when Ella hits a note. Opens up her soul. It seems. The sun has been laughing. All afternoon. And you discover. Everything is light.