There is music in me, the music of a peasant people.
I wander through the levee, picking my banjo and singing my songs of the cabin and the field. At
the Last Chance Saloon I am as welcome as the violets in March; there is always food and
drink for me there, and the dimes of those who love honest music. Behind the railroad tracks
the little children clap their hands and love me as they love Kris Kringle.
But I fear that I am a failure. Last night a woman called me a troubadour. What is a troubadour?
Pulling out of the old scarred skin (old rough thing I don't need now I strip off slip out of leave behind) I slough off deadscales flick skinflakes to the ground Shedding toughness peeling layers down to vulnerable stuff And I'm blinking off old eyelids for a new way of seeing By the rock I rub against I'm going to be tender again
From Blues Baby: Early Poems by Harryette Mullen, published by Bucknell University Press. Copyright © 1981, 2002 by Harryette Mullen. Used by permission. All rights reserved.