Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stormy Monday

Stormy Monday

Drunkard’s kiss, a used beginning,
a try for that embrace that seems to promise
what no human hand delivers.
We took the long riff into every alley
and found beneath the ground the big abyss.
That life and you are dead and gone,
child of pain, long gone
with the crazy smile, the amber trusting
thousand mile stare.

When I first met you I fell hard
into your painted desert 
whose beauty held no peace,
tumbled laughing down the graffiti'd walls
and hit the hard valley floor,
where the only thing to drink 
in all that stretch of badlands
was a bubbling whiskey river snaking through,
where the only stars that shone in the cold
perpetual night were the flickers and splinters
that came and went
in your liquid red rimmed eyes.

We were never alone, never still
with Johnny Walker and Johnny Winter,
B.B., Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray at the long party.
The eagle flies on Friday, Saturday we play. Sunday
never came and day was night and night day
in our crowded moving house where the music played on
the faces grew pale and formless
and time was spun forever in a whirlwind of denials.

But you were never made to wear the harness.
I remember when we blew two weeks pay on
those cases of pink champagne from France,
sweet under the bed in a room with no heat
and drank them in a week without glasses;
how you always traveled with forty dollars
in your pocket and 16 wine coolers
in the trunk of the Monte Carlo
(for emergencies) even when we
were running on empty.

And after all, you kept every promise.
I was the one who gave out like
a rented mule, a deathbed conversion, 
you who knew where all the kisses went
who kept a golden box of all the hours
who gave your back at the last for me to cross,
a bridge to span the deep abyss
from which you watched me walk.

Some nights I still can see you where I left you
looking up as if you’re seeing
something bigger than a kiss.

April 2011

Enjoy the music if you care to. There never was a day without it in the life of the man I wrote this for, gone on to the last party in 1992.


  1. This is so good!! It plays out like a perfect little film. Wonderful.

  2. I'm not going to insult this piece by parsing it out into lines I liked or whatnot. There is so much of you in it...there has to be, or it wouldn't ring so true. It's full of love and booze and blues and regret and....some kind of bittersweet remembering. As I read, you put me right there.

  3. Eight years of me, m'dear. Thanks--I've been listening to blues cuts all day on the youtubes--its amazing what a powerful catalyst music is for memory.

  4. nice...quite the tale today hedge....yeah i think it was ready to come out of the incubator....quite the journey you were on...

  5. This is so real, with some killer lines and oh, that poignant remembering of someone once loved, who now is gone. I really loved the part where he gave his back as a bridge for you to cross the abyss - that is true love, allowing you to escape pain that was no longer bearable. But we carry it along with us, nevertheless, no?

    Fabulously bluesy writing.A life fully lived.

  6. "it's amazing what a powerful catalyst music is for memory."-- I was thinking this exactly as I was reading your poem. My dad was a blues man. He taught me the words to Stormy Monday.
    Such a moving poem, and I love how the music adds to the emotional intensity.

  7. dear god, but you are good! :)

  8. Can't wedge between a man and his nursling bottle, especially when it's filled with juicy blues; the world is filled with burned lovers who forgot they were only wick and dim brightness of the essential, all-exclusive propane... Good to see you delving into history with the dowsing wand of a poetic hand true to the images inside the life. And yes, the music is both catalyst and cure, bane and balm; after all the wrong is gone, the music, so bitterwsweet, remains, something you can tap your toes to, or read along here with something close to, but never close enough, to rapture. With the man, I mean; the poetry rocks. - Brendan

  9. Junk in the trunk, whiskey n the front seat cheating women running out on cheating men and the Chitlin circuit where the hell would rock and roll be today without all that?

  10. Dante's walk through Hell with Virgil ( a drive through with Buddy Guy). I've been there; my role was onlooker in leg irons and handcuffs, wailing because all I could do was watch.

  11. This is achingly real and hauntingly familiar.

  12. Yes, you are amazing! Well done!

  13. Lyrical in all the meanings of that word. A ballad, the blues, some jazz, a portrait. I was right there in it all the way, Hedge. All the ups and downs of love for life and another. Fantastic poem! I'm with Brian...this was definitely ready to make a debut! Just excellent!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats