THE BLUES DON’T CHANGE
By Al Young
And I was born with you, wasn’t I, Blues?
Wombed with you, wounded, reared and forwarded
from address to address, stamped, stomped
and returned to sender by nobody else but you,
Blue Rider, writing me off every chance you
got, you mean old grudgeful-hearted, table-
turning demon, you, you sexy soul-sucking gem.
Blue diamond in the rough, you are forever.
You can’t be outfoxed don’t care how they cut
and smuggle and shine you on, you’re like a
shadow, too dumb and stubborn and necessary
to let them turn you into what you ain’t
with color or theory or powder or paint.
That’s how you can stay in style without sticking
and not getting stuck. You know how to sting
where I can’t scratch, and you move from frying
pan to skillet the same way you move people
to go to wiggling their bodies, juggling their
limbs, loosening that goose, upping their voices,
opening their pores, rolling their hips and lips.
They can shake their boodies but they can’t shake you.
(Back alley in Nashville, TN; photo mine; iPhone photos)
WHAT YOU HAVE TO GET OVER
By Dick Allen
Stumps. Railroad tracks. Early sicknesses,
the blue one, especially.
Your first love rounding a corner,
that snowy minefield.
Whether you step lightly or heavily,
you have to get over to that tree line a hundred yards in the distance
before evening falls,
letting no one see you wend your way,
that wonderful, old-fashioned word, wend,
meaning “to proceed, to journey,
to travel from one place to another,”
as from bed to breakfast, breakfast to imbecile work.
You have to get over your resentments,
the sun in the morning and the moon at night,
all those shadows of yourself you left behind
on odd little tables.
Tote that barge! Lift that bale! You have to
cross that river, jump that hedge, surmount that slogan,
crawl over this ego or that eros,
then hoist yourself up onto that yonder mountain.
Another old-fashioned word, yonder, meaning
“that indicated place, somewhere generally seen
or just beyond sight.” If you would recover,
you have to get over the shattered autos in the backwoods lot
to that bridge in the darkness
where the sentinels stand
guarding the border with their half-slung rifles,
warned of the likes of you.
In My Sky At Twilight
In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud
and your form and colour are the way I love them.
You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.
The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,
the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song,
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!
You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon’s
wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.
Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder
stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.
You are taken in the net of my music, my love,
and my nets of music are wide as the sky.
My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.
In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.