Meeting The Blues Man

I don’t remember passing out
The barkeep nudged me twice
I’d been out at least an hour
My drink, it had no ice

He told me I was finished
He said “Boy, you are done”
“You’re playing roulette with a pistol”
“With six bullets, not just one”

“There’s a taxi on it’s way boy”
I took in every word
But in truth, my head was spinning
What he said, I never heard

Way back in the corner
Sat two vultures watching me
The barkeep saw them watching
And he said “Son, the taxi’s free”

“There’s a cot just off the kitchen”
“If you’d rather stay inside”
“You won’t throw up in the taxi”
“It saves me money for the ride”

I nodded I’d accept it
He told me, “good, I hoped you would”
“The way your night is going”
“It just won’t end up good”

“You’re burning both ends of the candle”
“You’re lighting the middle part as well”
“You may think you’re off to heaven”
“Drink like this, you’ll end in hell”

He said “out back there is another”
“Fought the bottle, fought it hard”
“He was lost, but came back stronger”
“He’s doing well, but he is scarred”

“Tomorrow, you’ll eat breakfast”
“Go out back, and talk a bit”
“Now, off to bed directly”
“I need to think a bit, and sit”

I thanked him, though I mumbled
The words were clear inside my head
But, the words that I said to him
Made no sense, so….off to bed

The next morning, over coffee
He told me, “I’ve watched you every night”
“I’ve woken you before, you know”
“What you’re doing isn’t right”

I told him of my troubles
He shook his head, and said “so what”
“We all have troubles sometime”
“We make the best with what we’ve got”

“You can come here if you want to”
“But, if you drink, I’ll cut you off”
“This is your only chance son”
He said the last line, through a cough

He said that after breakfast
After I’d done the washing up
I was to head out to the alley
With fresh coffee, in a cup

He said “out back there”
“You’ll find a man with a guitar”
“Give him the fresh coffee”
“He won’t come here inside the bar”

I went out in the alley
And there exactly as he said
Sat a man, singing to no one
With a old ball cap on his head

I listened as he sang out
A voice as harsh as glass and sand
Playing guitar in the sunshine
Keeping beat, a one man band

He finished, and he saw me
Smiled as he took the cup
He said, “You don’t know me”
“But, I knew you’d look me up”

The Bluesman drank the coffee
Told me to sit and stay a spell
For each minute that I listened
Was one less I was in hell.

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