Leroy Haynes

Petit vedette, restaurant owner of Haynes Bar, Rue Clauzel, Paris

No one will ever know who you really are,
From where you watch the world pass by
Is not your piece of street.
Bur one day when you’re gone
People will say, “Haynes stood here.”

No one can say where your great talent lies,
In those bright eyes, in those dark hands,
Whose glance, whose touch, is food to me,
It warms me so –
In your youth the green fields of Chicago shook
And the crowds cheered to see such power.
Even the Whites smiled in recognition of achievement.
The power that sang out in your measured tracks
Ekes out still, when at the corner of each day
You turn, to greet anyone passing.

Who greets you when the day is done?
When with the grating of the restaurant door
Silenced are the dim recesses of that Aladdin’s cave.
Dark even beneath bright lights you performed,
Always audible ….lights dimmed, the candles snuffed
The patchwork of people who have filled with one voice
Your small domain, are gone now
Into the dark street we call Paris.

There is a gap
Where you stand
It awaits you
A place,
Not even air can fill.

Given to Leroy at Christmas 1983 by Caroline Baldock

Leroy died 22nd April 1986