Starting the Blues

This morning I walked, reformatted a digital camera,

Drank coffee, read a book, tried writing, and

Went to Long & McQuade to buy a book on blues,

And booked a lesson

With someone who was probably yet to be born

When I first heard the delta blues,

And hated it.  Ah. In my decreptitude,

Though not, I think, because of it,

I find I must play the blues, as I listen

With worn ears to Reverend Gary DAvis,

And Lightnin’ Hopkins,

And Robert Johnson and Blind Blake,

To John Fahey who unearthed Bukka White,

To Big Bill Broonzy,

Who played the Spirituals to Jazz Concerts,

Filling in for Robert Johnson, dead of strychnine

(Assisted by pneumonia)

Administered by a jealous husband.

I couldn’t write this morning

With Death Don’t Have No Mercy

And Key to the Highway

Making me bitter at my long, easy life.

But, then I remember Mendelssohn

And know that art does not only grow from pain.

So I’ll play guitar in my room,

Not the graveyard, but still I

Hope for a meeting at the Crossroads,

Where I’ll barter what’s left of my soul

For One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,

And one line that everyone knows

Without knowing who played it first.

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