Old School Blues

Man, I got them old-school blues,

like Mamie Smith and Langston Hughes.

But ain’t no blues no more, they shout. Them days is come and gone!

So long as no one’s lovin’ me, my pain will find a song.

Now I can’t say that ol’ Jim Crow is why I’m feelin’ blue,

Or all I’ve got’s a pair of socks and not one Goddamn shoe.

And I can’t cry, White-man, set me free!

Don’t mean there’s no chains shacklin’ me.

And no, my baby isn’t gone.

Didn’t have no baby all along.

I got them old school blues, y’know,

could tear the eyes of Johnny Lo.

Like every maple sugar child, once linked by ankle chain,

who lost his way a while ago, and now is lookin’ vain.

It’s gotten now that I’m too proud to get down on bended knee

and put my faith in anything, especially me.

But someday soon we’ll be cut loose,

with voices booming, Justice! Truth!

to find that good thing in our hearts,

and ends this scramblin’ in the dark.

‘Til then I got them old school blues,

like Tutwiler and Baton Rouge.

For all the folks who can’t make rent,

–and not just ’cause the money’s spent–

who feed them hungry, waitin’ eyes,

that live the blues between the sighs,

the blues ain’t got no power ‘cept to give your woes a voice.

And bein’ blue or fightin’ through ain’t nothin’ but a choice.

So again, like way back when that first cat felt the blues, I’ll say,

Let’s just keep a-risin’ til them old blues go away!

(Mississippi John Hurt image from: http://www.theguitarlesson.com/guitar-lesson-blog/blues-guitar-lessons/20-most-influential-and-best-blues-guitarists/  Old man snoozing image from: http://www.historicalstockphotos.com/details/photo/2122_old_man_sleeping_on_porch.html)

A Reflection Last Thursday

She sits in a cream-colored latte shop trimmed with green

(The kind I hate profoundly but makes a good cup of joe.)

Paperback in hand, her eyes

Glide across the page like a skater on ice.

Not digging deeper and not being touched.

It’s a best seller; has to be! The die is cast the mold is set

In this trendy house of idle skimming chatter

Her smart blue suit and black-rimmed spectacles cannot lie.

The evening is warm, just a notch above balmy. And there she sits

Looking at words she’ll never love

Her mind in a dozen fractured bits, colliding receding rolling about

It’s the ideal life, I suppose

A chariot built by the sons of Charlemagne

Robes by the daughters of Caesar

A good book, a cappuccino with all the trimmings,

A rose-hued sky taut above fat, marshmallow clouds that hang

Like strewn rocks suspended in a frozen moment

And there she sits, sipping occasionally

Athena caged! A tornado ensnared!

As far from distraught as content

Listlessness hovering over her face

Unable to hide

Oh Hera, was a silent tongue thy undoing,

Some filial acquiescence to an overbearing father’s vicarious demands,

The guilt imparted by a weary mother who’d had her fill of impulse and whim?

When, I wonder,

Did your muse put the lyre to rest?

An oblivious sip and shift in her chair,

An upward glance,

And Isis vanishes behind a broad smile

(All except a glimmer maybe only I can see)

Venus rises

To embrace a far cry from Lancelot

Broad shoulders and a fancy suit with a fresh haircut

A nose-job and a couple of love-handles shy of a nauseating commercial

And Mórrígan, my dear, sweet Mórrígan is gone

The veneer had jelled and hardened

And my mirror

(funny as it was)

fades away