remember those beer-stained nights
of rompin’, out-of-focus blues
when couples squeezed onto crowded dance floors
to dance the crazy-legged be-bop & jive, or
jumpin’ at the woodside, or
doin’ the crosstown, las’ chance fo’ romance-
closing-time boogie.
remember the band hittin’ the ninth refrain  runnin’
like a roundhouse haymaker findin’ its mark
sweating under red and blue lights
while everyone was hypnotized by
the big man on the mic,
always dressed in a suit, Chicago-style
hair slicked back
remember how the big man never took off the shades
even at night, even as he slept, perhaps.
remember how he worked so hard
hunched over
cupping his instrument
pulling it into himself
grunting and shouting
sweat pouring off his brow
blowing his soul into and through
turning twenty notes into a
vocabulary of sighs and moans
like a mile-long, south-bound freight
pulling its tired load of joy and sorrow
over Breakheart Pass.
remember the big man driven

William Clarke is dead
twenty notes gone south, gone
home to rest

let us pause and remember

In memory of Will Clarke, who died at age 45 on the road – early November, 1996.  A harmonica player and vocalist who specialized in the blues.  Rest easy.


4 Responses to “TWENTY NOTES GONE SOUTH by Raindog”

  1. F.N. Wright Says:

    i like this one, raindog.
    i have 2 harmonicas on my bedstand.
    can’t play them worth a damn (& they say they r ez 2 play) but if i have a woman in bed, start blowin’ on one it gets the foreplay goin’ real fast on their part. just to get me to quit trying to serenade them with… well, lets say pathetic & irritating to their ears. mine 2.

  2. Carter Monroe Says:

    Good one, Dog.

  3. Thanks guys. Check out “Blowin’ Like Hell” to hear some vintage Will Clarke. I used to see him a lot when I lived in the South Bay. Some say I looked like him and we were about the same age, but he’s ten years gone at least, so I like to think I look a little bit better than him now…

  4. i can feel and hear this one Mr. Dog

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