Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Dirty Just Got Off The Bus


To bring strangers out of misery and into a groove
oiled by booze urges for sloppy hip-pumping myopia
the guitar lick with deathwish plugged in
brings our common womb out of its common grave.
Come the gentry on their steeds
and out go dirty blues.
I remember the five-story Conrad Building on Westminster
with its Victorian turret, the first-floor home of a dive joint
Commander Cody once said on Letterman’s show
was the filthiest bunghole he’d ever gigged in.
Son Seals under a green spotlight in a tangerine
3-piece suit while smoking a meerschaum
played a solid-body onyx black guitar that gleamed.
Buddy Guy in a robin’s-egg-blue double-knit blazer
sent each twang and glissando from just a few feet away,
his sweat hitting arms and face
while we dodged drunk bikers and their porcine women
who buckled as if struck by poison darts.
Brick walls and as baleful as blues could get in those years,
wasn’t the Delta or Chicago’s South Side but it spoke needs
long before any digital essence cyber-hijacking occurred.
Ain’t much of a city if it ain’t jonesin’ for the blues.

John Flynn’s sixth poetry chapbook, Wave and Metronome, is due out in 2010-11 from Pudding House. His published poems and stories can be found at He’s earned writing awards from the US Peace Corps, and the New England Poetry Club.