And the blues, I tell you, they blew up
on target; blew the roof right off
& went whistling skyward, starward,
stilling every zooming one of us
mojo'd in the room that night, that
instant, that whenever it was. Torn
inside at first, we all got turned out,
twisting in a blooming space where
afternoon & evening fused like Adam
with Eve. The joyful urge to cry
mushroomed into a blinding cloudburst
of spirit wired for sound, then atomized
into one long, thunderous, cooling downpour.
What ceased to be was now & now & now.
Time somehow was what the blues froze
tight like an underground pipe before
busting it loose in glad explosions; a
blast that shattered us—ice, flow & all.
The drift of what we'd been began to
shift, dragging us neither upstream nor
down but lifting us, safe & high, above
the very storm that, only flashing moments
ago, we'd been huddling in for warmth.
Melted at last, liquefied, we became
losers to the blues & victors, both.
Now that he'd blown us away with his shout,
this reigning brownskinned wizard, wise
to the ways of alchemy, squeezed new life
back into us by breathing through cracks
in our broken hearts; coaxing & choking
while speaking in tongues that fork & bend
like the watery peripheries of time; a
crime no more punishable than what the
dreaming volcano does waking from what it was.
Believe me, the blues can be volatile too,
but the blues don't bruise; they only renew.
© 2008 by Al Young, from Something About the Blues. Published by Sourcebooks.