The last verse that nobody knows blues

from California
this land is singing
to the new York island
the blues
12 bar field hollers
ring from slave shacks

the smoke rises
in mississippi jukejoints
foot stomp
on the down beat
bend the e string
on pawn shop guitars
of bo diddley boxes
shoeboxmade on a worn
slick shotgun porch

the heat rises
cigarettes burn in neck strings
old blues is played
eyes closed with
black cat bones
on the edge of a swamp
with too many gators
in the no moon night
of the backdoor man
sneaking out
part of a cc rider doin’
a free ride
it is king of the delta
blues man teaching us
how to play slide
on a flat top

the fog rises
we hitch with woody
see san francisco wail
the blues
singing the taptaptap needle
on homeless sidewalks
singing the somebody’s
little girl turned walking
the midnight sidewalk
wanna date– got some shit?

the sound rises
through the f holes
we walk the line
of ramshackle—
heat turned off– housing
of absent fathers
moved out
moved on
of halfway houses
of safe houses
of crack houses
of a factory set up
to fail the huddled masses
w/o a house

the flag raised
to the screaming
silent blues
of walter reed teaching
heroes how to walk
on one leg
it is the blues riff
of yearning to breathe free
it is grade school children
God shed his grace on thee
for the first time
it is the foot stomp
on the down beat
the taptaptap
slap on the cracked
guitar blues
when we are
still humming the tune
eyes closed
but have forgotten
the words

5 Responses to The last verse that nobody knows blues

  1. lissa says:

    i’ve been so out of it lately, i didn’t realize you were still blogging away. i’m very glad. 🙂 i love your imagery and musicality. i especially liked the lines “cigarettes burn in neck strings” and “walter reed teaching heroes how to walk on one leg”

  2. nathan1313 says:

    I like the whole thing but that fifth stanza really makes it.

  3. Holly Dunlap says:

    again, wonderful rhythm! Lissa actually took two of my fav lines, but the whole last stanza really blows me away…awesome. I love the blues, by the way, Memphis Minnie has become my favorite blues musician. I can hear the guitar in this poem.

  4. Julie says:

    I agree with everyone. Wonderful rhythm and blues. So many awesome lines!

  5. johemmant says:

    Yes, ditto Lissa’s choice of lines.

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