You can hear the Missippi in his voice,
gravely and true,
the pain leaking out, but the joy too,
a lifetime of small venues and bars,
his fingers sometimes a whirlwind,
sometimes a slow caress.
Across the stage, all sinew and bone
the bassist follows, or leads,
you are never quite sure,
the beat stronger than your heart,
rattling your rib cage.
There is a harmonica,
the player dressed and standing like a rapper,
but whose licks smack of the deep south,
of stools in front to the store in the thirties.
You are transported.
Your own blues lost in three and a half hours
of another man’s life, and you leave finally,
your heart altered,
a new rhythm beaten into you
as you are left wondering how
to make your own pain
About this poem
The woman I love and I went to see John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band last night in Albany. Real, BB King style blues done magically well. Just what this tired soul needed.