You suck on 4
and bend it like a hickory switch
until just before your chewing gum
loses all its flavor.
Now slide down to 3
for a draw and a blow,
but make it quick –
if you take time for a lap dance,
you’re taking too long,
you have to get to 2 to breathe
life into a wicked little blue note
who lives way out in the back woods
where they still have stills and steady customers.
Bounce back up to 4,
draw the bowstring again
and take careful aim
before sending it away by tugging
on 5 and filling the air
with the sound of hopeless mothers
whose sons play all kinds of blues
in all kinds of bars.
Finish it off with a 5 blow
that lingers as you glide
back to 4 and then pull.
That last combination, the 5 draw/blow
that slips like a December drunk
into a 4 blow/draw
is so damned fundamental
you just got to wallow
in all that sad over and over again.
Now, step back, slide your harp
into your front shirt pocket like it thinks
it lives there, look over at Froggy, a man
who knows how to tongue a thing or two,
and hope to see that sneaky grin inside
his salt-and-pepper beard, the one that lets you know
he’s been up to something in the back of his mind
where memories live.
Look for his eyes smiling behind
his coke bottle glasses and say,
“That’s my lick, but you can use it.”