© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Piano Bar Blues

I'm just a man
like anyone else. I can
respect when I place
myself at the keyboard, face
bathed in blue light.
I do alright.

Not like Mary.
Fell in love with a fairy
used to come in all the time.
His name was Harry.
He'd sit here at the piano making eyes
at all the guys.
Mary never got wise.

You know
one thing I know
is you
can’t kiss away the blues.

Not the real blues.

Not the hollow note
deep in your throat
kind of blues
that wake you in the middle of the night
because the silence gets so loud
you can hear starlight

It's a job.
last week some slob
laid fifty bucks beside me.
Forget what you see,
he said. I'm not here.
My wife wouldn't understand.
All I did was hold her hand,
not like I planned
it or anything. So I fanned
his fantasy for a while,
played My Funny Valentine and with style
closed my eyes tight.
I said, I don't see nobody tonight.

They go away.
Next day
my wife,
who's best friends with his old lady May,
asks how'd it go.
Real slow,
I say.
Didn't see a soul I know.

I tell people who come in all the time
you can’t kiss away the blues,
not those lonely in a crowd blues.
Those caged bird
wicker domed
watching from a swinging perch

The kind that weigh
you down even when the door is open
because you get so hungry
not even love
can fill you up.

You know when I saw you two come in
I felt sick
like I was watching someone commit
A no win
like when you begin
a set
and get
an undeniable urge to piss.

Maybe I shouldn't say this.
After all I see a lot of dirt.
I’ve watched a lot of men chase a skirt.
Jesus, I don't mean that.
It's just when you've sat
where I've sat,

you get tired
of watching friends choose
the place you gotta be to play the blues.

There’s no way.
You can try,
but you’re gonna loose
because there’s no way
you can kiss away
those blues.

Originally published in A Matter of Mind, Foothills Publishing, 2004.
© copyright 2004, 2009 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved.


  1. This is dark and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Reminds me of the days I was a bartender. Lots of sad stories going around the bar, night after night.

    Watch out for those 'lonely in a crowd blues.'

    That's why I don't go into bars too much anymore--too lonely, no matter how many people I'm with.

    It's great, Grandpa.

  3. I have a book upstairs called;
    "The Blues Line." It is a collection of classic Blues Songs from days gone by... this piece could fit perfectly in that book. It is great!

  4. Wow, I am going to have to come back and re-read. I have a 3 year old running around right now.

  5. This has a nice rhythm, and also --I like some of the imagery you've come up with.

  6. One of your best!

    As a musician myself who's played in bars I recognize the truth in your words from experience.

    Here's a Lei for you, Grandpa!

    Aloha Poet

  7. I really got into this- dark and smokey. Sad and the words move from section to section as if in a labyrinth almost. You have a way with your cadence- painting the picture with words.

  8. LOVE this, Grandpa!

    Have you tried to set this to music? Would love to hear it sung as you would like it to be....if you would like it to be. (I think it could be neat if it was!)