Lift As You Climb – Women of the Blues (a poem)
“…what ya think music is; what chu think the blues be & them get happy church music is about but talkin wit the unreal what mo real than most folks ever gonna know”
-from Sassafrass Cypress & Indigo by Ntozeke Shange.
not just the woman/man
done left me-bum bum bum da dat.
I mean the life begat love begat pain = the blues and the women who lived them.
The joyous blues;
with a shake of hips, smack of hot sauce,
and the moans that nourish or curse.
Whether sitting in the signifying pulpit, the jury of the juke joint, or Highway 61–
–the road Bessie “The Empress” Smith died on–
these are the founders of the blues.
From its humble beginnings in Storyville to the cotton states;
to the streets where the cold cuts like a straight razor,
the blues begat a woman;
several women in fact.
If you were to chart the elegant designers of the blues you will find the names of several women; Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton and Billie Holliday.
I got up this week with the blues;
with my mom in hospital, daughter in hospital;
oh yeah, my woman broke up with me ALL on the same day.
Sing them blues sisters–I’m singing them too.