Wendi Williams
A Jazz Tribute

Duke and Billy, of one melodic spirit.
Each kindling for the other’s soul,
Together spinning jazz phrases,
Weaving them into success.

Duke spoke this of Billy,
“My brain waves in his head,
And his in mine.”
Their notes bound in tight unity.

But cancer came knocking,
Billy fought best he could.
His last song called “Blood Count,”
He confronted death with jazz.

A tribute recorded, the session complete,
Duke’s fingers caress the keyboard, alone.
His hands sing emptiness and grief;
Sorrow, phrased in exquisite tones.

The recorder, unstopped,
Captures Duke’s tender keen.
A private moment so intense, so sad,
The language of anguish in song.

Wendi Williams
Christmas Angel

It is soothing enough to maintain
a family Christmas tradition.

Christmas is my life jacket this night,
for tradition demands a hand-made card.

This obligation rescues me
with purpose and diversion.

It is soothing enough to hear easy chatter
in the distance. Tragedy delayed one more day.

I sit outside our door ajar,
an ear alert to fitful stirring within.

Christmas images dance unwillingly,
slow to congeal in my brooding thoughts.

My knife bites into linoleum, creates an outline.
A word slowly rises. The letter A. Then N.

G-E-L. So appropriate,
so frighteningly appropriate.

Inside, he stirs, deeply breathes sterile air.
Please don’t give my baby wings just yet!

I carve with care! I carve with gentleness.
I carve health for my baby.

The uneasy calm is pierced by sudden
terror next door.

A flurry of nurses, a doctor, a jangling cart of
desperate medicines scream down the hall to my neighbor.

I retreat to the safety of my softly breathing child.
Darkness a haven, his mere breath my refuge.

A Christmas angel flutters and spreads its wings beside us.

Wendi Williams

This dandelion, my friend, my foe,
Intrudes upon my plot.
Her golden mop sings out her will
To prove her right to stay.

She grows with vigor,
Her leaves grow long.
She puts my plants to shame.
She puts down roots
With stubborn pluck,
She will not give up easily.

But wait! In aging yet another
Fragile beauty appears.
Summer gold fades to gossamer grey
Eagerly bearing seeds.

She waits only for a gentle breeze
To disperse future generations.
She will not give up easily;
She proves her right to stay.

An older KCTCS student, Wendi Williams, of Louisville, finds inspiration, joy and anguish in her four children, music and nature.



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