Monthly Archives: December 2012

It Must Be Sunday

Women with haunches like Clydesdales
Canter past me grasping beef-neck boyfriends
My stomach is fighting a losing battle
With last night’s bourbon
My eyes wrestle with the slender rays of sun
That slip past my sunglasses
My elbow throbs and oozes
The path home obstructed by construction
I can’t even taste the cigarette
That is burning my chest
It must be Sunday

Wide Women

Wide women in flowery printed skirts
A tribute to the strangest architect
Each of these women has a simple name

The thin material wraps like butcher’s paper
Around their fleshy pink pork chops
Long menthol cigarettes poke from their mouths
My groin stirs – I stare under the summer sun

After Phil’s Party

There is something deceiving about how the stark snow-whipped highway
Pulls me away from the safety of your arms – the warm of your embrace
There is a lie in her eyes – in the sparkling streetlights that guide me home
They promise me safe passage but what they deliver is distance between us

The heater in my car dries my lips making them sting and crack
Music pours out of the stereo not so much mollifying as stupefying me
Someone else found the words – the keys to unlock what I need to say to you
If I tried to speak now – you would laugh – and I wouldn’t blame you

My soul feels like that bending spread of Interstate 94 heading into the city
It is lonely tonight and cold and no one seems to notice it – not tonight
You could have taken a minute or an hour or whatever time you wanted
The road would have waited for you like she always does – and always will

Coal Dust

I am the son of the son of a coal miner
My father having escaped
the steaming bowels of West Virginia
Long before I came into this world
His father traded a lung full of coal dust
For a handful a black smeared dollar bills
So the family could buy potatoes and stay alive

Not much of a life expectancy for pet canaries
in that mining camp
Simmering slag piles offered grimy solace for the young boys
Their minds filled with thoughts of a far away war
Now the ones who made it back home are left with
Just some memories of the black stained hands
And the coal dust on the wind discoloring the laundry on the line
Just some memories of the ancient grocer in her musty shop
And the shelves stocked with sacks of flour
and sugar and jars of shiny red candy

Hollywood finally came slicing through the Blue Ridge Mountains
Nesting there to pick at the remains of the carcass
Left by box-guitar playing hobos and folk music sycophants
They strum and wail of the richness of West Virginia and its people
Unaware that the mysteries within are equally lost on them

The son of a coal minor is often touched by the effort
When he gets lost in the panoramic vista of the sweeping verses
It is almost easy to forget the miners’ life
It is almost easy to forget the slag piles
It is almost easy to forget the coal dust

7:13 p.m. in the car

Like the wave that slammed my body
Against the jagged rocks at Black Beach
These thoughts of her bombard my exhausted mind
She shakes me out of my comfortable stupor
And like the salt water seeping into my wounds
It burns me while it cleanses me

1:25 in the Morning

the sweet smell of excess
and the opportunity to make
life changing (threatening) decisions
over a battle-scarred laminated table
Naugahyde leather sweats your ass
discontent hangs in the air
like cotton candy above us
calculated shallow discontent
with nothing to gain or lose
by staying safely cradled
in the booth in the restaurant
that faces out on to a once-proud highway

Reflections on Bluesfest 2000

At Chicago’s Grant Park

It’s a time of joy and time of cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The L train was crowded with blues music lovers
Chicago’s Bluesfest is isn’t like any other

The trendy vendors were all in a row
T-shirts and posters remember the show

The heat was almost more than I could bear
The thick smell of rain cooled the evening air

The lines at the food tents were typically long
While the band on the side-stage wailed out their sweet song

The band shell was next where the stars got us high
The ones on the stage and the ones in the sky

Miss Taylor was there and so was Willie King
The crowd danced around while the queen did her thing

Lonnie and Lucky and Diamond Jim Green
Cats playing guitar like you’ve never seen

The tribute to Wolf brought a tear to my eye
When old Hubert Sumlin lit up the night sky

When that sky finally burst – we ran under a tent
Where I heard someone say this is Mayfield’s revenge

The lovers of blues – the lovers of fests
All seemed to agree this one was the best

And when it was over the night turning dark
I swear I saw Wolf walking out of Grant Park

It’s all about music and paying your dues
And proving again that Chicago is home of the Blues