The blues spoken here

In the Marines, they quip there is no color:
just light, dark and medium green.
So it is with the blues, if you look closely enough;
beyond the initial reaction,
the worry over the metal detectors at the door,
run-down houses down the block,
a sign that hangs precariously by one rusty screw
and a hastily tacked up hand-printed waybill
proudly announcing a cover charge
changed at least three times
if you can trust the scratch outs,
there is a calm in this place.

To speak of blues lovers
as separate but equal,
colorblind,
open-minded or tolerant
is to cheapen the blues,
to somehow try to prove, in vain,
that misery and suffering
are not quite universal,
less than absolute,
meted out in small degrees
according to one’s lights.

Not so, not so:
the blues succeeds
where other kinds of music fail,
across wide oceans of despair
to reach into the blood and bone
which are, when life is measured out,
bleached white the same
and turned to dust.

2 APR 2013

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