This poem is cast as a verbal fugue in a form suggested by a poem of Weldon Kees's. All the historical incidents described are true.
Leon Bismarck Beiderbecke, better known as "Bix," was a famous jazz cornetist of the 'Twenties and is generally considered the first white musician to make a significant contribution to jazz.
Tobacco (genus Nicotiana) was originally found only in the Americas, where natives used it in sacred ceremonies. All the incidents mentioned in this poem are true.
My Secret Lift is an eleven-volume sexual autobiography published privately in 1888. The author, a Victorian gentleman of private means, has never been identified.