Drivin’ the Blues Away

Like riding the South Side rush hour elevated,
a day’s beginning and end with kindred working folk,
bodies packed wall to wall, now to celebrate
a cathartic night’s beginning, to drive the blues away.

There is the smell of the blues in the air, a sweet blending of cigarettes,
booze and body odor, along with the music that draws you in.
Dancing, shouting, stompin’ of feet, all the neighbors letting go,
as a working class bluesman and his band, freed from their day jobs,
are up front pounding out an Elmore James tune.

Carrying on the hip of Sunday best suits, having a good time,
playing on a Sears Roebuck drum kit and Japanese guitars.
No fancy Stratocasters, and no bank of Marshall amplifiers,
but they still sound damn good cause this is the music of their lives.
Working all day in steel mills or on that construction job,
now they’re liberated, free doing what they really love,
in a thousand bars and juke joints in every ghetto in the land.

The throbbing of energy and life not stupefied Lawrence Welk.
This was America’s real culture, a raucous rejuvenation
from the day’s tedious oppression and indignities.
No apologies for not being dead,
just juke joint ecstasy to drive the blues away.

F. Henderson's poetry is drawn from a lifetime on the streets seeking to create the pathways for the oppressed to find their humanity. The struggles, the insights, the hard lessons learned. Anti-social in a world that is anti-human. He has had numerous articles published on American History and the Law and has now added poetry to his arsenal of weapons against this anti-human society we reside in. Read other articles by F..