Mr. Blues and Etheridge Knight
It’s always up and down, as you know.
Sometimes up, sometimes down, bro.
Mr. Blues, I still refuse to give up though.
Got to pull yourself up again by the bootstrap.
Better pull yourself up again by the bootstrap
if you don’t want to be caught in a nasty trap.
Mr. Blues, you always a free singer be.
My friend, you always a free singer be.
Like Etheridge, you got the power to see.
Young Etheridge, he got thrown into the clink.
Pre-poet Etheridge got thrown into the clink
as his life stuttered and teetered on the brink,
but behind bars he was released into his own voice,
he became the man reborn in a powerful voice
that spoke for down and outs with little choice.
Brother Etheridge spoke from the country of the heart,
he taught himself to write from the center of his heart:
the red-hot spoken language of head and heart was his art.
Mr. Blues, you and Etheridge close brothers be.
Mr. Blues, you and Etheridge bosom buddies be.
Etheridge’s blues came to Indiana from Mississippi
and he sang the blues for you and me.
Yeah, he sang the blues for you and me.
Now Etheridge Knight sings for all eternity.
Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-10, has published nine poetry collections, the most recent last year from Indiana Univ. Press, Songs in Sepia and Black and White. This year American Dreams: Border Crossings, seven prose poem cycles, will appear from Mongrel Empire Press. Norbert taught for 34 years at Long Island University, where he directed the C.W. Post Poetry Center. As Indiana Poet Laureate, he stressed the reunion of poetry and music and held a 2011-12 Creative Renewal Fellowship to combine poetry and blues from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, where he has lived since 2004. He was a featured reader at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival last year.