The Blues

by Joe Okonkwo

My lover walked
out and left me
with the night draped around
my shoulders
like a funeral cloak—
and that’s when The Blues
came out to play.

The Blues floated its rascal self
out of every crack, crevice and cranny.
It crushed its harsh melody
into my heart,
like a bruising crescendo,
like a raspy bass note.

The Blues fucked with me.
Some mornings I’d wake up
and think The Blues done
gone its merry way and
I saw the sun shining bright
like a white-hot trumpet note.

But by afternoon The Blues had
slunk out of the deep grooves
it had carved into me,
climbed outta those grooves
like soldiers climbing outta trench.
And The Blues ambushed
me with everything it had.
By evening it had leveled me.

The Blues seduced me with a whisper and
smacked me upside the head
like a cussin’ old black woman.

When it whispered,
it lured me, vamp-style,
with a glinting smile
and mahogany hips,
waltzed me to the cliff’s
tempting edge,
and then, with a shimmer
and  a sashay,
tried to trick me into jumping.
When it smacked me,
the lights went out,
the sky fell.
I woke up
with the old woman standing
over me with the rolling pin
she just went upside my head with,
and she got up in my face and
told me off like only
a cussin’ old black woman can.

Gradually, oh so gradually,
I started to fend off The Blues.
The vamp retreated,
The old woman dried up.
The image of the lover who left,
while still smoking my brain
like brush fire, began to cool
into slow burning embers.

Those embers warmed my
pillow at night with the
stark memories of love.

Finally the embers died,
and so did The Blues,
died out on the last
airy notes of sad sax solo.
Good Lord, peace.

And that peace soothes me,
lets me re-light the fire,
invite a new lover
to my welcoming bosom.

But re-lighting the fire
creates new embers.
And embers, when they
burn brightly enough,
are a magnet for The Blues.

The Blues by Joe Okonkwo

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page