Tag Archives: blues

Win or Lose: Sicilian septet

So often, when it comes to win or lose
(or what we each define as either one)
the pathways offered that we tend to choose
reflect the adage “ends as it’s begun”.
Could be the reason why we sing the blues
(and why not? Can you name a better one?).
Roll over, Ludwig; tell Peter the news.

24 MAY 2017

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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,
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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Natural Blues: a blues sonnet

Every fire begins with just a spark.
Yes, every fire it starts with just a spark;
comes out of nothing, somewhere in the dark.

Every morning starts before the dawn.
Each morning has its start long before dawn;
it stops its sleeping, has to ramble on.

Everybody’s got their cross to bear.
It’s true, each one has got their cross to bear;
no use in crying out, “It just ain’t fair.”

Every flood starts with just one drop of rain.
Every flood starts with just one drop of rain;
wets the rich and poor man just the same.

Every storm begins from a small cloud;
Tornados sure must make their mamas proud.

17 NOV 2010

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Lowdown Existential Blues

Just like everybody, I try to get along;
but I can’t win for losing, things always turn out wrong.
Need to have a membership,
but I have an objection to the dues.
I’ve got the feeling non-essential,
clearly quintessential
lowdown existential blues.

I could stand for something, but really, what’s the point?
It’s not like what I say will change the way they run this joint.
I still end up walking the extra mile
in someone else’s shoes.
I’ve got the wrong end of the pencil,
most irreverential
lowdown existential blues.

You don’t need my opinion on the way it ought to be;
you do just what you want to, in the end.
Nowhere doing nothing is reward unto itself;
No sense in wasting time on let’s pretend.

Yes, it’s a dilemma; I don’t know what to do.
Seems I’m good for nothing; I know that to be true.
Doesn’t seem to matter much
what answers that you’re seeking, or the clues.
I’ve got the sittin’ on the fence will
make you non-essential
lowdown existential blues.

21 SEP 2007

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The Dead Room

I wonder why you come to hear the blues;
there is no recognition in your face
of any depth beneath the music’s steady pace,
nor rhythm to the rare tap of your shoes.

While those around you sway and nod their heads,
acknowledging a lyric with a shout,
you sit in awkward silence; and no doubt,
imagine yourself somewhere else instead.

And yet you come, and sit, and watch me play,
absorbing the crowd’s energy, and mine;
you leave no tip, no word of thanks, no smile.

Where did you learn to act in such a way,
a black hole dousing every light that shines,
that counters all catharsis with denial?

24 JUL 2007

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You’ve Had the Blues

If you’ve been down and out
(and you know what I’m talkin’ about)
you’ve had the blues:
if what you’ve lost and left behind
has made trouble in your mind,
and you seem to find the road under your shoes;
if you can’t get nowhere
and nobody seems to care
and your membership is nothing but the dues;
if the people that you meet
see you and then cross the street
and the cold from their eyes pierces you straight through,
you’ve had the blues.

If you’ve been on the losin’ end
(and you know what I mean, my friend)
you’ve had the blues:
if you sit awake at night
and try to make it right,
but it don’t get better either way you choose;
if you’re always on the run
from what you should and could have done,
and the past just turns today to bitter hues;
if the whiskey and the wine
just taste like dirt and turpentine
and the morning only seems to bring bad news,
you’ve had the blues.

If you’ve been run through the mill
(if you don’t know, someday you will)
you’ve had the blues:
if you’re out there all alone
with no one to call your own
and it seems until you die you’re born to lose;
if you try to see it through
but no one really cares for you,
they just smile and want to tell you what to do;
if every day is just the same,
just one more motion in the game
and you’re just killing the time until it’s through,
you’ve had the blues.

10 MAR 2007

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Don’t You Diagnose Me

You know, so much of what we’re sold is happy horseshit
designed to soften our resistance to a lie:
that you are where you are because that’s right where you belong,
and your life will all get better, bye and bye.

Once you’ve swallowed that first dose, the rest don’t matter;
they’ve got you hooked on the sedation of their choice.
Big business, and the government, the churches do it too;
each one has their own soft, seductive voice.

But sometimes lately in the wee hours of the morning,
in that stretch of dawn before the nurse rolls through
I’ve found myself awake, and thinking its a big mistake
to let the system get its greedy hooks in you.

And If in the name of normalcy, you’ve got to play the part
of the blissful happy fool, then I refuse.
Just because I choose to see the glass sometimes as far from full,
Doctor, don’t you diagnose me with the blues

22 DEC 2006

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