I run in swishing corduroy knickers
and Buster Brown shoes, wearing
a goggled Buck Rogers Helmet,
until I’m chased head-first
into the schoolyard fence.

Splayed out on a dining room table
on a tablecloth splattered with blood,
I stare at worried faces pinning
me down as a five-buck-house-call Doc
stitches my split upper lip as good
as a plastic surgeon from Park Avenue.

Before long, I embrace the trumpet.
My teacher taught me solfeggio,
to sight-read like a pro,
and then I learned how to blow
a mellow tone of pure gold,
but, because of the scar on my lip
I’d never be able to hold high C.

When Eddie Iglesias and I formed a band,
I was no match for his fat mariachi lips.
Destined to play second trumpet.
I soon abandoned my horn.
Becoming the best tenor sax player
in Milt Edward’s orchestra.