Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene
So Many Roads
for Otis Rush
So, I’m walking the mountain roads tonight,
further in. That’s how your blues fastens me—soulful—
to the Milky Way. To the stars. The fiery orange bend
in Jupiter says you too have eight fluid moons. That your sun
sign, Taurus, gave you a home—far from Neshoba—steadying you into the orbit
notes. How could your recording of “I Can’t Quit You Baby”
possibly be as old as me? 1956 is a long life away.
In hearing those riffs, perhaps I, too, fell from the stars,
unable to quit the world. As the Buddha said, we all come back,
time and again. You arrived this time to open our hearts
to the happy-sad that matters. Like the left-handed practice of certain yogis,
you flipped your guitar strings upside down to say what we thought
was right could be better said from the opposite end. Like wearing
your cowboy hat on
and L.C.'s Checkerboard Lounge in the 70s, just under four miles from where I was born
corridor, convinced you’d have a white-boy poet as a godson from the stars?
Did you hand out cigars and say, One day he’ll carve my bluest blues
into poems and unto the world? Now you are struggling, Otis. Wheeled
from this venue to that. Your Gibson semi-hollow 355 is quiet. Still,
that happy-sad. Electric cowboy that you are, I always thought you’d take
one of those so many roads and ride off into blistering riffs
of who and what we do. There are sunsets and moon-glow. And sometimes each
is the other. The sun quavering the strange quixotic color of the moon. Like the lightning
light of your left hand bend bending into Peter Green. Into Eric Clapton.
could they. So many roads, and one of the roads they took was you.