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Bryan Murphy

Joy of the Blues

On holiday from a theatre of war,
I wandered around the retirement town
where I'd tried to grow up, ran into
well-groomed, greying men I recalled
snarling in playground brawls.

"You still got all them blues records?"
Sunshine, I bloodied your knuckles on my nose,
seduced your sweet sister, and you remember me
for my blues collection? "You bet: Muddy Waters,
John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann, Howlin' Wolf"

that other Americana beyond the dream:
bitter with authenticity, on the periphery
of our consciousness, offering
the human experience in twelve bars,

on the rack, stretched to limits,
infinite variation on finite themes,
like language, soccer, life. Blues
transcended the conventions it endorsed,

seeded my malleable mind with a conviction
that cultural barriers are there to overcome,
so that the Sirens of this world's uneasy zones
will always outbid the muzak of little England.

©2007 by Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is a British-born translator and writer. His poetry has appeared widely on the Internet, occasionally in print, (most recently in Satjah Projects' erotic anthology Velvet Avalanche) and at the Venice Biennale. After an itinerant career, including three years in Angola, he has settled in Turin, Italy.

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