Monday, February 10, 2014

***Poet’s Corner- Langston Hughes 

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

February is Black History Month


Bound No'th Blues
Goin’ down the road, Lawd,
Goin’ down the road.
Down the road, Lawd,
Way,way down the road.
Got to find somebody
To help me carry this load.

Road’s in front o’ me,
Nothin’ to do but walk.
Road’s in front of me,
Walk…an’ walk…an’ walk.
I’d like to meet a good friend
To come along an’ talk.

Hates to be lonely,
Lawd, I hates to be sad.
Says I hates to be lonely,
Hates to be lonely an’ sad,
But ever friend you finds seems
Like they try to do you bad.

Road, road, road, O!
Road, road…road…road, road!
Road, road, road, O!
On the no’thern road.
These Mississippi towns ain’t
Fit fer a hoppin’ toad.

Langston Hughes
… he, Bradley Brim (juke joint, roadside house, rent party stage moniker, Clarksville Slim, but let’s just stick with Bradley until he needs to use that moniker again up north), was sick and tired of, hell, being sick and tired. First off, after last Saturday night, Bradley was sick and tired of every no account jive- ass jackass field hand, cotton field hand, in the great state of Mississippi feeling like he could, like he could as a natural right, all rum brave on Spider Jones’ homemade, feel that he could throw his whiskey jar at the stage when he didn’t like a particular number Bradley was doing. Damn, go elsewhere. Next off he was sick and tired unto death of every Louella, Bee, Sarah, Selma, and Victoria (those his last four, ah, five girlfriends, for those not in the know, not in the juke joint circuit know), taking what little money he had (and it wasn’t much after expenses, a little reefer, a couple of bucks for some trifle for his girl of the moment) and spending it on her walking daddy, her husband or her pimp. And then at the end of the night saying, sweet purr saying, he was her one and only walking daddy, after he had picked up her tab and they headed to his place, his cabin for what no walking daddy, husband or pimp was giving her. And lastly off he was just about ready to shake the dust of old Spider Jones’ juke joints (road houses and cafes too, he had a string of them around the southern part of the state), his cornball liquor, the dust of Clarksville, and the dusts of the great state of Mississippi and follow the northern star to the promised land, to Chi town, to legendary Maxwell Street where a man could make himself and still come out ahead.
And as he started thinking, thinking once again about shaking that damn dust off, he thought too about how he wouldn’t miss his day job at Mister Baxter’s Lumber Company that was hampering his musical development because he couldn’t practice during the day like he should, wouldn’t miss every Mister James Crow-craving white man, woman, and child in the state telling him, sit here, don’t sit there , walk here, don’t walk there, eat here, don’t eat there, drink the water here, don’t drink the water there, even Mister Baxter, wouldn’t miss every cornball white hick, white trash hick, really, eye-balling him anytime he went downtown for Mister Baxter, or on his own hook. Wouldn’t miss a lot of things, except those women who shook loose of their walking daddies and wanted him to be their coffee-grinder when the dawn came up.
He heard, and he thought he heard right, heard it from Mickey Mack’s woman who was waiting for Mickey to send for her to come to Chi town any day now that there were plenty of jobs up there, good paying jobs in steel mills and slaughter houses (he thought about, and laughed too, how in school Miss Parker had read the class a poem by some crusty old white guy who called Chi town “hog-butcher to the world”), the housing wasn’t too bad (some cold- water flats which sounded better than the raggedy ass old Mister Baxter cabin he lived in) and get this, nobody, nobody on this good green earth cared where you ate, drank, sat on the bus, as long as you didn’t bother them (and maybe didn’t live next door to them).But mainly all he cared about was making it, or breaking it, he held that possibility out too, on Maxwell Street (or starting out on one of the side streets and working his way up) singing his stuff, singing his covers of Robert Johnson that he thought would drive the women wild (especially his version of Dust My Broom) and of Muddy too. Yeah, all he cared about was following that northern star to sweet home Chicago.



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