Son Ford Thomas’s Last Talk with the Lord
You know, the blues is nothing but the devil…you can’t serve the Lord and the devil too.—James “Son Ford” Thomas
I am the arm anchoring the record
and the needle. I am the jukebox’s
steel and grease: the key of E hidden deep.
If I can’t hold it in my head, I can’t
do it with my hand. The devil’s got me
by the ear saying, See the Saturday
night ladies dancing, the cigars, bourbon
and fried chicken. This is the dream, he says,
of who you will someday be.
Dig a grave,
pinch clay into a human skull, study
the blues—they’re all the same damn thing. I’ll work
the guitar like its frets are dead men’s teeth
till my own shadow comes knocking. I’ll die
knowing you stood in a corner watching.