Friday, May 21, 2010


Born in Chicago,
I know the blues.
I remember Halsted and Madison Streets...
I knew of, Howlin' Wolf, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison, Koko Taylor and Clarence, "Gatemouth" Brown.
I dug Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Siegal Schwall, I knew 'em all.

The Blues are about people and pain.
They are also about joy and love.
They're about love and the loss of love.
The Blues are about calloused hands, and bent backs.
They are about the Chicago Stockyards, and factories.
The Blues, know no racial bounds.
They were brought up from the Mississippi Delta,
by people who had hopes and dreams.
They came up North, hungry blacks and Appalachian white trash.

The Blues are a state of mind.
They are carried in a leather jacket,
like a cheap half-pint of bourbon.
The Blues are a pack of non-filtered smokes.
They are a shot of scag...
A joint, or an old hag.
She sells herself on North Avenue and Ashland,
in the dead of winter. She wears no jacket.
The Blues are in your face, just like this.
The Blues make no excuses for what they are.
They don't care what you think.

Once you understand the Blues,
You carry them around with you, always.
They are yours for life.
No matter how "flush" you get,
You never forget the Blues.

I won't forget Maxwell Street.
The smell of Chicago hotdogs.
The street vendors.
The people.
The joy of dancing.
They tore it all down.
The spirit remains.
I carry it with me,
in my leather jacket,
like a half-pint of beloved, cheap bourbon...
My Chicago Blues.


  1. And it all happened here under the red white and blue! I do identify with you...all of you blues brothers and blue man groups and blue whale watchers and blue blooded bushwhackers...I truly do...I have blue veins too! mj

    Nice piece Rich...peace out...

  2. thanks Mike...I want you to write a book of your poems and thoughts!...You owe it to yourself...Hope to see you today at Glen Fest!