The Blues Singer

First look up and down she seems cool
Someone urban, yet proud with a touch of sass
She chooses a sofa over a stool
For the main support of her ample mass
Some truths settle in so cruel
You just know she is no vapid, hoity-toity lass

Her maquillage is a multihued blend
Colors not in vogue for a human face to adorn
Velvet yards seemingly without end
Feather a figure where it really shouldn’t be worn
A seam or two will soon need a mend
But what will mend her expression so forlorn?

There’s a distant pain in her eyes
That feels like no amount of warmth can overcome
Merged with an air of deep despise
Red talons sift between rest and a hard tapping drum
On the table top as smooth her most painful lies
Yeah, you recognize that kind of hurt and then some

Was this hurt from just yesterday
Or precious moments trampled in her distant past
Was she plotting on viable ways to pay
Or wondering if ever again she’ll laugh last
Then somewhere a piano starts to play
A chord that hurdles through her sorrows vast

You watch her venture to the stage
As she take the mike her rouged lips starts to quiver
The notes cradle her gritty voice of rage
In a vernacular that causes the soul’s core to shiver
It takes berth as both fresh and sage
Through heartbreaks where she was never the giver

Her look now seems less like a sin
In the glaring spotlight it’s subtle not cheap or crass
Still sipping inspiration through her gin
Reminding you of all the pain you’re trying to pass
Still you think, as you feel it all within
She’s the saddest girl to ever hold a martini glass

She takes you ‘to the river’ in tears owned
Her voice filling the virtual vacuum of her surrounds
As she layers Janis on Billy in tone
Her notes vary rising high only to vale to the ground
You wonder is it the song or a true moan
Notes you’ll hear days later when there’s no one around

She sings a provocative mix
Watching the audience eat out the palm of her hand
For you know it’s how she gets her kicks
By taking you on this tearful journey she’s planned
But for now you sit totally transfixed
Leaving only when the pain is more than you can stand


I was at a jazz club in Harlem with a heartbroken friend. Usually there is upbeat jazz, fusion bands, the perfect thing to help start the healing, but that night. That night the Fates decided clearly more wallowing was needed.  It was not the night for the melancholy to be there. The above is a poetic rendition of how one singer broke nearly everyone there down. I had started this poem that night while we were still there. The above is the end result.

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers





Slice of Life Writing Challenge : Two Writing Teachers

4 thoughts on “The Blues Singer

  1. What a journey. You made me feel like I was there, riding the emotion like a fish on a line. I especially loved the last stanza, “leaving only when the pain is more than you can stand.” Great art is often that that cuts right to something within our own core.

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