We ride the road to the City of the Dead,
mouths full & spitting Chewing John's juice,
ears pierced by Wolf's howl: We gonna pitch
a wang-dang doodle.... All night long
down Highway 61, Blues Alley, you can run
-- you can run from Memphis to Clarksdale,
past Smitty's Red Top & Sarah's Kitchen,
past a now collapsed & wholly moldering
Riverside Hotel on Sunflower Street
where Bessie Smith came to grips
with the ultimate epistemology of the Blues.
You can run on through, past Rosedale
-- you can run till you come to U.S. 49.
Never mind the Fuel Mart & Church's Fried Chicken,
never mind Delta Donuts & Abe's Bar-B-Q.
Robert Johnson, tell us, if you know
what waits in that place outside the borders of town,
in that place where two roads cross at right angles,
where Mercury dimes dipped in Van Van,
dusted with ashes, & wrapped in red flannel
might still due your bill in some juke joint
where a drink of whiskey's always a risk
for a man with the mojo. Hands
down, your good-girl wasn't there....
Old man, if you're on this road tonight,
thumb stuck out, bootheels clocking 12 beats
to the nearest bar, come on.
We'll turn our strings to open tunings,
roll our bones past Morgan City
We won't stop at Three Forks Store,
we won't sleep at Mount Zion.
We got to keep on moving
-- keep on moving....