Crossroad Blues

I was walking home late one night
late because I had been drinking
that’s what my wife tells me
and mostly she’s right

she says I drink to avoid her
drink to avoid our charming home
and mostly she’s right
that I drink all our money away

what I don’t throw away
and mostly she’s right
so I said to myself
as is a man’s sole right

to stalk in the night, muttering
alone piss drunk with fear rage and agitation
when he came behind me, and said,
“You’re mine, don’t worry,

you’ve always been mine,
don’t sweat it, let the big things
take care of themselves.”
I never looked behind me, all I said was,

“Get thee behind me.”
and as my wife likes to point out, I also added,
“You’ve got no agreement with me”
to which I heard a reply,

“Don’t need no contract with the likes of you – you’re mine.”
and I paused at that – I looked at the sky
black nightly tucked between blank walls
and all I could see was I was blind

“Don’t follow me”
“But I have to follow – it’s you who leads.”
So I ran and listened to the echo
of worn shoe soles, silent padding heart beat,

following, don’t look back it’s following me
and I came to the crossroads
cried out “Lord take away what’s following me”
and I turned around and looked to see

But there was only the road I fled upon
nothing following me
I looked side to side, saw two roads head in either direction
and I stood up and said,

“All I want is my time, full time that’s all;
and when I die a funeral of friends
to sing one final blues song”
and then lightning smoked and thunder spoke

and I fell down on the ground and the rain swept over me
and I could not tell what lay in front of me
whether I cried that I was free
or whether I sold my soul

that night at the crossroads

Never-ending Blues (a barrelhouse)

I’ve got the never-ending,
never-ending, never-ending
<walk to tonic—strut>

I got friends in China
want to take me dining
any time I choose
but they say: “one thing
old ting-a-ling,
so as not to confuse
you got to leave behind
those never ending
never ending, never ending

I went to Ireland
where everyone’s smilin’
man, when I left, they had the Blues
took a chance
went to France
before I could say “merci beaucoup
they struck the tricolour
replaced it with something duller
and on the Left Bank everyone
was tres vrai bleu

I went to Texas,
the Lone Star State
when I arrived
everything was great
called up a cowgirl
asked her out on a date
she began to hesitate
“you sure you got a car?”
I told her it’s vintage
right out back
we went outside
the car is fried
a comet hit my Meteor
roasted blue
(the cowgirl too)
that’s how I know I got the never ending blues

let me tell you something
that ain’t the news
I got the never ending, never ending blues
I come into the room
everyone wants to move
ask my Ma — she never returns my calls
ask my Pa — he don’t know me at all
no one admits so it’s gotta be true

I got those never ending
never ending
never ending blues

Toronto Blues

My lawyer’s suing me
my banker wants back his loan
they took my car away from me
and I can’t afford my home
but what can you do when youse
got the Toronto Blues

People drive by me
cover me with mud
the way they look at me
might as well be blood
when you got nowhere to go
You Got the Blues in Toronto

The Mayor says
A man with no Ride
got no Pride, he ain’t
part of the parade
and friendly streets
are just a charade

you get pushed down South
you’re in the drink
run over by the Porter link

push out East
you’re in Scarborough
sounds good until you want
out of the Scarborough

pushed out West
you’re in Mimico
don’t ask, you don’t wanna know

get pushed up North
how far do you want to go?
there’s lots of choice
or move to Etobicoke

and in the midst of the power
there’s a pinprick tower
to remind you it’s as minimal
as it all seems to be

cause when
the bills come due
and you’re nothing
but blue
you oughta know—
there’s no blues
more on the go
than the blues you get
livin’ in Toronto

Easy Chair Blues

gonna take my easy chair down by the river
stars wheel through the night
down by the water where stars multiply
rock me away from here in my easy chair
gonna rock my way through the night

‘cause the one I love is so close, but so far
the river is cold and deep and wide
and the one I love — she’s on the other side
so I’ll be here, near her all night long
rockin’ away my cares, sittin’ in my easy chair

Renewal Blues (requires yodelling)

Everything requires thought, I do not think
someone says eyes forward, I don’t blink
launch my torpedoes, loose my dogs of war
never learn my lesson from what went on before
and as my navy sinks
my heart begins to sing:

ain’t got no bay-a-bay-a-baby,
ain’t got no girl …. (bum bum bum bum)
Ain’t got no lov-a-ov-Ay-ov-a-ying
in this big world ….

ain’t got no bay-ya-baya-baby,
she’s gone for good …. (bum bum bum bum)
no one to joke with
no one to make me feel good


wish she would come back to me
I won’t hold it against her
in her defence sir
it was me who was ag’inst her
I need her to come back soon
I need her like the sun needs the moon
If she can hear me and she asks why
just tell her I hate cryin’ — OH!
I think I’m dyin’ … I miss her so

ain’t got no bay-a-bay-a-baby,
ain’t got no girl …. (bum bum bum bum)
Ain’t got no lov-a-ov-Ay-ov-a-ying
in this big world ….

I need your lov-a-ov-Ayov-a-ying
I need you to be my jewel
I need you to lovlov-a-ov-Ayov-a-y me
I need renewal

Please bring me back Bayayaybee
been gone so long
please bring me back Bayayaybee
keep me safe from harm

I ain’t done no wrong Bayayaybee
none I can’t make right
come home to me Bayayaybee
I’ll love you day and night

Where Does My Money Go?

tell me momma where does my money go?
did you drop it at the corner,
did it burn a hole right through the floor?
Tell me where it’s going
before you walk out that door.

Where does my money go?
Where does my money go?
working 23 hours of 24
I always need to get more
Tell me where my money goes
before you walk out that door.

how am I going to make it at 95
2013 I’m barely alive
haven’t got much and when it’s gone
I’m telling you babe
you can’t get blood from a stone

Where does my money go?
Where does my money go?
flying out the door
burning holes through my floor
either I stop eating
or someone’s got to go
Tell me where it’s going
before you step out that door.

You Got Me Going Blues (a sorta sonnet)

you got me going with that thing you do
there ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do
you say I’ve been democratically selected
I tell you I don’t need Viagra to get elected

I’ll be your fence post when you need to fence
I’ll be your shotgun for self defence
I’ll put the sugar in your soda pop
Oh please baby don’t you ever stop

I need you like my car needs the road but
the cops would give me a ticket for overload
you got me going like a house on fire
you make me whole, I’m a real live wire

you got me tingling from my head to my toes
oh tell me Mama there’s more beneath those clothes

Moving The Piano Blues

sunset cloud skates chromatic
spring fever officially begun
drum thrum
singers chant
chorus melodium
fingers stray upon the keyboard
slip ‘twixt black and white

where has my piano gone?
my playing is outta sight
slipped the keyboard
slipped the string
never mind, each hand stomps
lid closed, still, I sing

march of keys
march of time
something ahead
something behind
can’t you hear hammers cry
can’t you hear woodwinds sigh
strings a sing, tympa-knee-oh-me-oh-mah
what is that sound?
just me crying

where is my piano?
— gone baby gone —
where are my keys
— chain gang digging gone —
I’m ruffing without riffing
— what’s the news, that’s the news —
I need my strings
— ask the sun, tell the moon —
hear them ring,
little hammers pound pong pang ping
I just gotta, I just hafta, I just wanna sing

hands brush ivory with simple caress
Lift that Load!
Lift that Load!
admire the harp – hold the lid
heave hard, Ho!
kick aside the dolly
set it on the skid
by the numbers,
on one — Hard!
Hold The Lid!

Sound of tumbling
pennies and marbles my sons dropped in
silent strings sing
hammered by lesser things
keep them singing while I’m humbling
little song set spinning
one end marks another beginning

twirl that box of sound
set it on its end
music is universal ground
gravity won’t make it bend
start at the beginning
get those sevenths in a circle
rack up the minors
break ‘em eight to the bar
make the blues purple
pile those harmonies
on the trailer behind the car
rock the casbah
rush the stage
they’ve taken my piano
feels like nothing
like nothing remains

steel a piece of my heart
iron wood ebony ivory
I want to play endlessly
my piano’s gone missing
seems all that remains
feels like pain
like I’m standing still

lift that load gently
take care how you set her down
hold her reverentially, boys
she’s got a heavenly sound
kick aside the dolly
set her on the skid
all on one, Ho!
hold the lid!

Sad Blues

I got the sad blues
saddest blues you ever heard
wake up sad every day
going to be sad tomorrow
feeling glad I can’t beg steal or borrow
only thing I got going is sad

day I was born I was sad
made my momma cry
I kept crying
from that day forward
going to be sad
until I die

got dirt in my mouth
my soul heading South
heading North my heart
I’m not from around these parts

I got ache in my memories
every day feels like a month
scars of stories are all that remain
some days I don’t even feel the pain

I got the sad blues
saddest blues you ever heard
I can’t beg steal or borrow glad
only thing I got going is sad

Do You Wanna Do It Blues (country honk)

I got a gal
whose 6 foot three
when we make love
she looks down at me

she says

“do you wanna do it?
(do you wanna do it?)
course you wanna do it!
(course you wanna do it!)
if you’re gonna do it
then you’re gonna wanna
do it with me

I got a pal his gal’s
the neighbourhood cop
every time they do it
she keeps hollering “Stop!”

he says

“do you wanna do it?
(do you wanna do it?)
course you wanna do it!
(course you wanna do it!)
if you’re gonna do it
then you’re gonna wanna
do it with me

I know a girl
she’s awful kind
but her boyfriend’s black and blue
cause she goes out of her mind

she grabs him and says

“do you wanna do it?
(do you wanna do it?)
course you wanna do it!
(course you wanna do it!)
if you’re gonna do it
then you’re gonna wanna
do it with me

my gal told her doctor
I’m over the hill
she said don’t worry honey
just slip him this pill


Now we’re gonna do it!
(Now we’re gonna do it!)
‘Cause we wanna do it!!
(‘Cause we wanna do it!!)

cause if you’re gonna do it
then you’re gonna wanna
do it with me

(for Joanna Kidd Hart, whose nickname was “Wanna”—for all of
the right reasons)

Love Life Blues

love life
what the Bible said
love life
is what I read
I should love life
is what her note said

just a phantom
just a dream
county fair afternoon
looking for ice cream
cotton candy on my mind
salt and vinegar
is all I find

a simple message
I could not deny
so I ask you as I cry
Why oh Why
must I — love life?

love life
it’s like some kind of sin
love life
look at the mess I’m in
don’t get me a doctor
I’m OK
get me a horse doctor
‘cause I’m shitting hay
get me someone in real estate
I got nowhere to stay
get me a pharmacist
I can’t stand the pain

someone take pity
and please explain
when you strip it all away
when nothing remains
Why oh Why
must I be in this moment
where love cleaves to the knife?

and you tell me I gotta
get me some — love life
get it on the run — love life
hotter than the sun — love life
I gotta find some — love life

The Blues Have Got Me Beat

the blues flattened my fedora into a beret
stole my zippy-de-doo-die-ay
gave me a saxophone,
told me, “blow it kid, you can never go home.”
I keep snapping my fingers to invisible sounds
and I squeak confused the squares to confound –
it’s times like these I do believe —
the Blues have got me Beat.

my Shakespeare reads like Kerouac
I bought a ticket to Paris though you never can go back
I tore a Brooks Brothers suit to hang it on my door
and there’s two guys lying on my living room floor
arguing whether a white man can sing the blues –
or is it all just some 20th century repeat
& that’s when you know –
the Blues have got you Beat

I sold my home and bought a club
where I sell espresso and absinthe
my girlfriend was born in leotards
and they’ve never been rinsed – since.
I’ve shaved my head, grown a goatee,
I’m starting to talk phonetically
this phone call’s coming to you from me
‘cuz brother – I must insist,
Oh sister, don’t resist
‘cuz in case you just missed
the ineffable fact I lay before you Jack
then I must repeat
the Blues,
the Blues,
I believe the Blues
— have got me Beat.