on time

waltz me into it
walk up the aisle side by side
no witnesses please

n.b. Nothing to see here at the horse and carriage store. As the song says ‘Walk on by’.

CLP 02/10/2022

on time

Hazelhurst's hurting
Robert Johnson's been long gone
town's still got the blues

~

n.b. Technically a city, a county capital, Hazelhurst has a population that has reduced to less than 4,000 with a quarter of whom living below the poverty line.

It is the birthplace of Robert Johnson, whose songs made others rich. The blue guitar sign, just visible on the right of the picture, offers a clue to the substantial debt owed by the music world for the gift of a life started here.

From this modest town there comes some remarkable people in the line of medicine, literature and the fight for civil rights for African-Americans, not all celebrated, but it’s worth finding out about the Deacons for Defense and Justice, who were compelled to come to Hazelhurst in 1966 to confront racist violence inflicted on people of colour organising with the NAACP to be able to exercise their civil rights.

CLP 01/10/2022

on time

we met over music
talked about race, religion
his six years prison
one fifth of his life
incarcerated for what?
he has a temper

~

n.b. We talked at first about football, then of other tribal connections; churches, family, gangs. His is doing a lot of work the Black Panthers would applaud, my tribe just watches football. There are times some of we Britons don’t know we’re born.

I am not condoning lack of self-control. It is not easy, but is it ever a justifiable reason for poor behaviour? I don’t know. Until you are taught, how do you know?

This piece of graffiti on Poplar Avenue is from a member of the (Almighty) Vice Lords. A six point star would denote a message from the (Black) Disciple Gangsters. One group Muslim, the latter not.

CLP 01/10/2022

on time

eventually
fresh-mown grass, birdsong, flowers
weary bones laid down

~

n.b. I was struck by the calm, orderly, well-maintained expanse of a large cemetery on the north side of Elvis Presley Boulevard in south Memphis. Respite from chaos. It’s a shame that such respect is not shown for the living.

James, who was waiting for the bus too, told me this was the best cemetery in the city. Somewhere to aspire to for loved ones when the day comes.

Mount Carmel Cemetery, Route 51.

CLP 30/09/2022

on Beale Street

camera wobbles
trolley catches tourist beat
drunk? it ain't me babe

~

CLP 29/09/2022

on time

it works as designed
humanity the driver
simple, effective

~

n.b. The trolley system in Memphis hasn’t the range to cover the expanded city, but it provides a great service in the heart and is delivered with heart by its drivers.

CLP 28/09/2022

on time

where blue suede shoes trod
they long since left the café
no scent left to track

~

n.b. The nice thing about The Arcade Restaurant is that, apart from a modest postcard, the proprietors don’t trade off the reputation of one of their many happy customers. More importantly the café has been up and running for 102 years. I would say, it’s alright (in a good way).

CLP 28/09/2022

on Ukraine

human rights abused
no excuse, who's for this war?
hands up everyone!

~

n.b. Referenda being used by occupying forces to skim over, or gloss up the rationale for creating a war. It’s been said that these exercises are no better than voting at gunpoint,

CLP 27/09/2022

on time

putting a face on
can't hide what happens beneath
St. Louis' broken heart

~

n.b. In a city with many elegantly carved superstructures that are all boarded up, this building in the city centre has been cleverly painted to look as if it has a facade carved from stone. It is merely make up that is beginning to flake off. It is initially impressive, but like The Arch, it’s just a hollow sham.

CLP 27/09/2022

on cash

I'll buy you a meal
but I won't just give money
you said you're hungry

~

n.b. Talk me through that again. Hungry means ‘food’ right?

A young man, in a desperate condition, scarred, nervous, tired and dirty asked for a dollar for food. I said I’d get him some food, (we were stood outside a hamburger joint). I checked what he fancied, but when I came out there was no sign of him.

A middle-aged woman leaning on a walking cane, asked me for help getting some food. I explained the situation and she was grateful for the meal and drink I had carried out for the boy, who called himself William.

CLP 26/09/2022