IN MEMORY OF BILLY BOY
My father Billy, whose father was Billy, named me Billy, like America ain’t enough awash in Billy: Joel, Graham, Bob Thornton. But I’m not just any Billy. I’m “Billy,” keyboard drifter, 57th Street, Central Avenue, Route 66, flophouses, roadhouses, whorehouses, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino along a Las Vegas strip (old town). Now a gray-haired man and his piano, fakebooks for the exotic one-act dancers, the Saturday night comedian at Billy’s Castle, bar rooms, dives and beer halls, no longer playin’ the moneyed high society ballrooms for phony smiles, movers, shakers layin’ an oily sheen on a slippery dance floor. Now just a wizened heart twisted in some antediluvian memory of . . . sound swallowed up by a life playing stride, Erol, Red and Trane that rang in my ears.