Dorothy Donegan Auditions
By Patricia Callan
Raucous displays, swinging
her hips, peppering audiences
with ribald jokes, rough vocal vowels
accompanied by a left-hand riff
by that guy, Johann Sebastian Bach.
Silver-caped and sequin-capped,
dazzling fans like les admirateurs
in Montmartre’s rowdy cabarets,
demanding to be heard, insisting
on pay the same as the boys –
Seemingly detached from her body –
Right leg, a drilling hammer. Her fingers,
curved in classical position, cascade
diminished chords in a rapid attack
of relentless chromatic descent.
Basie’s band quiet, watching,
waiting. Then – basses rockin’ with
Dorothy ruling over the keyboard
in battle mode with a fragment –
Glory Glory Glory Halleluiah –
She asks, Did I get the job?
Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Callan.