ERIC CLAPTON, AGE 15, LISTENS TO ROBERT JOHNSON’S “TERRAPLANE BLUES”
This metal taste will not dissipate – ache of desire,
revelation of loneliness, what you guess it means to grow up.
Pennies under tongue, ball in throat that will not dissolve.
You were raised to believe in miracles
though you never had before this moment. What if
you’ve finally heard a story
you don’t know the ending for? What if
being alive does not require compromise?
Imagine accelerating in an old six-cylinder
along the dusty byways of a parallel mystery,
imagine love awaits your return – so much to learn about faith.
You think the map has just unfolded before you,
you think you will spend your life
inside this song.
There is an ocean between where you are,
where you want to be.
Misdirection. Why not? Everyone
starts somewhere, even a scoundrel:
scam, sham, flimflam man,
big black hat, guitar slung back,
the stories end the same & the joke’s
on you: play the blues backwards:
your baby returns, you sober up,
water recedes to river where it belongs,
that old sun unsets
& you find your way home –
can you imagine anything worse?
Amorak Huey lives and writes in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. A former newspaper editor and reporter, he teaches writing at Grand Valley State University. His chapbook The Insomniac Circus is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press, and his writing appears in The Best American Poetry 2012, Poet’s Market 2014, Menacing Hedge, Rattle, Essay Daily, and other print and online journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.