Making Love to Buddy Guy

By  |  March 23, 2017
Photograph courtesy of Unsplash Photograph courtesy of Unsplash
I’m talking about the man at 80—trickling Jheri curl ol skool
now razored down or just plain fell out to make way for sparse 
and stubbled silver, his smile an improvidence of gold and rot
 
Yea, I hear you knockin
Here I come to let you in
Hear that stone cold knockin
Here I come to let you in
 
and that mile-low dip in his shoulders, that thing that happens 
when the grave first whispers the deserted verbs of our names 
and, like fools, we bend our nosy asses down to listen. I peel
               
Got my pork chops sizzlin
Got this room set up for sin
 
him of denim and sharkskin, and our slow tighten-up is doused 
in florescence, the slap glare of dressing room bulbs squawks 
bumps and fat, muscle dwindles down, the nights knife-sharp
 
Bring it oer here, sweet daddy
Let me love you, stem to stern
Bring it oer here, sweet daddy
Let me love you, stem to stern
                                                                                                   
ensemb crumples to gummy tiles. There is rampant spill from 
spandex, an aint-believing inhale that just got to be let loose. 
Never seen fit to damn no man with this half century of creak
 
Lets don’t waste no time with talkin
Cause we got so much to learn
                                                                
and droop, but this man here beguiles with the hesitation twang
and the stutter of porch, a dusty lust as close as real religion 
gon ever get to me. I so obsessively hatched the ravish, nights
 
Turn them lights down, baby
Turn them down till they burn blue
Turn those lights down, sugar
Turn them down till they burn blue     
 
all edgy with him, his ladled sugar mouth, air sissippi thick, 
shards of pig and bacon grease funking in Mason jars beneath
the sink. I nibble grime from his fingers, savor dizzy nails black
 
What we need with llumination?
In this dark, just me and you
 
with Lucky Strike reek and bass string, I am mad slow with their 
indents, their boisterous scars. I bite a little torch into the wilting 
comma of his lifeline and for the first time, sound. He moans as
 
Love those blues songs, darlin
When you growl it low and hiss,
Sing those songs, big daddy
When you growl those lies and hiss,
 
juke, he moans as blue elder. Death, stanking aloud and scarlet, 
sprawls wide-legged on the couch across from us, pretending 
to be detached, but she cant resist tapping a bony toe in time 
 
Go in deep and whisper
“You ain’t had no man like this.”
 
to our gasping waltz. Buddys left eye on me is milky, starved, 
so oddly unmoored, hooch-fused. His gut beneath my hand is
an errant gush of rivers. I trace shake down the sudden raised 
               
Make me lose my power?
I don’t think you ever could
Make me lose my power?
I don’t think you would or could 
                                                                        
road of his chest, on him downtempo, a lesson I learned from 
the west side of every damned woman. Funk, the whole funk 
and nothing but, is deluge. We couple, washed in the smudged 
 
But you work that hoodoo
Tryin to turn me out for good
 
glow of shot glasses that are unwashed but rinsed and rinsed in gin, 
hefted, blistered a nasty gold. Clawing my waist, he screams the name
of his first guitar, conjuring the outline of her splintered hips, his sweet 
 
migration, south to north, across a silent girl. But I am wide aloud, we 
are in Chicago and a little church leaks from our tangle. He prays to just
stay alive, howling like our stink in this room. And I strive to be his lyric.

Patricia Smith reads “Making Love to Buddy Guy” 

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Patricia Smith has authored seven books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the National Book Award. In 2015, she released Gotta Go Gotta Flow, a collaboration with Michael Abramson's photographs of Chicago's South Side juke joints. Her new book, Incendiary Art, is just out from Northwestern University Press.