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For Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues

Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues by Greg Powell

For Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues

seventh sons of seven sons
of seventeen sun sultans of seven
suns be Sons
of the Blues.

mirrors crawl along black walls
broken by lavatory doors and
pathways emitting garden
of fried scents
conjured in the kitchen
and windows open to midnight
desolation of east 79th

chandeliers drip spots
of electric lights over long
leather trimmed bar lined
with leaning folks looking
for trouble
on a Wednesday night. folks
dipped in rejuvenating pit
of down home blues
from they heads down
to they shoes. lights drip
on hair dos of sweet bartenders
half-dressed and jiggling
candies for buzzed eyes to feast
serving it up, straight
no chaser

on tiny stage
Sons of the Blues and
Chi town Hustlers rock
the house low and dirty
funky D Blues churning deep
enough to make bones moan
have mercy

Billy’s mighty harp tone voice
holler hoochie coochie notes
ignite turmoil of fire born
in fluttering hands/ tongues
of Mississippi masters hardened
in concrete and cold Chi town hawk,
blessed in Muddy Waters Sonnyboys
Carey Bells and Sugar Blues
Little and Big Walters
legions of singers of love
survival roots clawing beneath
chaos of thorns speak
through Billy tonight saying

Help me pretty baby
I can’t do it all by myself
If you can’t help me
Sweet woman
I’m gonna find me somebody else

Moses be Kushite alchemist of sticks
polemicist of drum speak
cymbal bashing lyricist of hambone
boom bop a doppa boom
boom bop a doppa boom
bop a she bam
dop a she bam yes
soul meat cooking in fat
back grease of mojo modes
timbales talk in tongues

Weatherby weeps rains
of Caledonia pathos
guitar strings melt into tears
flowing through raging scars
tears crawling long salty streaks
of the Blues

Mississippi J.W. moans Holy Ghost
shouts in blue tavern haze
soliloquies of Sweet Black Angels
Lord I love the way she spread
Her wings. when it comes to loving
She give me joy and everything
crooning shouts crooning caresses
as thick thighs in tight skirts
twitch on stools touched deep
by elastic voice
mellifluously licking the air

Chi town Hustlers hook into groove
drum and bass copulate the beat
birthing survival tones hidden
in nuanced pockets of 4 + 4 time
low down nasty funk for funky folk
calling old man Lone Ranger to walk the bar
jacket electric in Christmas lights flashing
as the brother camel walks to mid floor
leaps into stanky butt Ali shuffle
into funky chicken
into James Brown slide
shout spin and split
into ass shaking boogie
sailing on slick quick feets
that don’t fail the bass line
step to drum beat love groove
from head down to shoes
guitar strings twisted pleas
solo snake dancing in and out
mighty harp ascending Dizzy heights
close to domain of Coltrane
Chi town Hustlers jam for days…

… just axe
Southside Blues folk.
axe elixir mixing Cynthia. Axe
Dee Dee, Destiny, Poochie and me.
axe Lone Ranger and Tonto and Caledonia.
axe Lucille and Pork Pie Phil. axe Sterling
the Mississippi griot. axe Snake Eyes-
Willie and Blind Lemon Billy. they’ll
tell you what I’m telling you
straight up as it be
be live
be real
be down home down to earth
be ruthless hoodoo truth
be seventh Sons of seven Sons
of seventeen sun sultans of seven Sons
be Sons of the Blues
be Sons of the Blues
be Sons of the Blues….