The Bluesman (A Street Poem)

Daily walks would lead me down

The tourist laden streets

Where people from all walks of life

Would congregate and meet

Buskers, singers, ne’er do wells

Would work throughout the throngs

But in back of Giannis restaurant

Sat an old man sharing songs

He didn’t sing so much as talk

His voice was hoarse with age

But a milk box and an orange crate

Were his table, chair and stage

His instrument, an old guitar

Scarred, battle worn and black

He sat and played to nobody

He just let the words be there

His audience could be a hundred deep

Sometimes it could be air

His music was his lifes blood

It was everything he had

So he shared it with the people

And the people….they were glad

The tourists, stayed away though

They were more attracted by the flair

Of the buskers and the jugglers

Not this man who wasn’t there

He never left to join the crowd

And to sell his songs to those

Who really wanted nothing more

Than to hear some manufactured prose

The people who he played to

Were just others from the street

They worked the bars and restaurants

And at night they’d find a seat

In front of this old bluesman

Sitting by his orange box

Playing his guitar by candle light

Taking in his songs and talks

He sang songs from the heart, I guess

About those who’d he’d met

He’d sing about a dozen songs

That would constitute a set

Then he’d open up his silver flask

And sucking two gulps down

“This here’s just my medicine”

“My past lives just to drown”

He sang of Truck Stop Beauty Queens

And of Walks out in the park

He sang of people living life

Not just hiding in the dark

He sang of things so real you’d see

Their pictures in your mind

He’d sing of places and of things

That others would not find

But tourists, they just stayed away

Near the buskers blowing fire

While yards away this old man sat

Just like an old town cryer

His audience would leave a bit

of change for their free show

He never asked for anything

For this was his row to hoe

At two though when the street shut down

He closed his show down too

But he always had an extra song

A special one for you

His music came from in his heart

He shared it without fear

For once it left his throat it was

A sound that was so dear

The tourists went to hotels

Once the buskers all went home

But he just moved his crate and box

He slept out here alone

He sang his songs of characters

Who helped make us his life

His words were sometimes gentle

While others cut you like a knife

His world was just that orange crate

And his music helped unfurl

The melodies in this mans mind

It helped him share his world

He knew some things and people that

Would take rather than give

He sang about the street people

Because among them he did live

His home was just a cardboard box

Behind Giannis bar

And if you want to see a real good show

You don’t have to go far

It’s just a little beaten path

Away from tourist fare

Where this little, old, shy

Bluesman sings to hundreds or the air..


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