Long Nights of Burnt Days

There’s a lot of flesh and blood in his harmonica,
long nights of burnt days, and prayers
carrying him to the crossroads with
the devil on his back.

He testifies about his dark side
in blue notes walking their way
toward redemption until the
liquor congregation pours another amen.

He was a lot of things… Is a lot of things.
He pours past and future through
one day at a time into music that helps
every listener carry their own story.

©Susie Clevenger 2019


  1. Oh Susie, this is amazing! A hard and beautiful journey captured in these lines. I love each stanza equally. Each one stands strong with images that cannot be forgotten, nor would we want to. A new favorite for me!

    1. Thanks Carrie. I know a lot of harmonica players. They can really speak a story through their harps.

    2. I would love to meet one of them and hear them play. I am sure it is amazing!

    3. Maybe one day I can introduce you to one. :)

  2. You can hear it clearly when an artist puts their flesh and blood in their art, no matter what the medium. That's not a thing that can't be taught so much as felt. Thank the gods for the intuitive alchemy that lets people transmute feeling into art.

  3. This is the kind of music that can help the listener so much... all that pain of the artist is like a helping hand.

  4. I love the harmonica, this is really beautiful Susie.

  5. Interesting. I never got into the harmonica or blues players. Maybe sometime I will check it out.

  6. An excellent character study in verse.
    I wish I had an iota of musical talent. I could play the blues with authenticity.

  7. There is nothing i love more than hearing live music. What a wonderful life musicians must have.

  8. ...pours another amen. Loved that. And the first stanza really drew me in - Powerful imagery - which is often the case with your poetry.

  9. I love the harmonica and am in awe of those folks who have mastered it! Have to add that I have one and am attempting to learn ... my poor arthritic fingers and failing embouchure have failed me on my flute!

  10. Long Nights of Burnt Days is a perfect title and description for this poem.

  11. Loved the imagery in your poem, particularly
    "liquor congregation pours another amen."


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