Old Georgia Bottleneck Blues

Old Georgia Bottleneck Blues
for Cecil Barfield

Cecil Barfield makes them high neck
notes sting
               like gotta-be God

               damned yellow flies bitin’
every inch of skin—
                                   by the pond,
under shade, in the field,

all through the inscrutable
                       South Georgia
heat. Moan and wail, wrench
               and squeeze,

Cecil, I thought I told you
               not to did that, I thought
I told you
               not to did that.

But Thank God you did
               did that, Cecil, in ’78,
for some Atlanta man
               on the front porch

                       of yo’ blues-electrified
shack, no running water,
                       and so afraid
of the tax man,

you called yourself
               William Robertson
on the record. Hell, Cecil,
                                   you played

a one-stringed oil can
               as a boy, nailed a string
to a house and played
                       a house—

You played a got-damned house,
               Cecil! And said,
What I do,
               it satisfy me
. And it satisfy

me too, Cecil. You my root
               my hook in the cold
creek water, my vintage Universal

Laidlaw Flyswatter. You
                       my wind-up
               Victor, Cecil, even though
you done

closed up your life
                       like a suitcase
and moved on, far on,
               from these here parts.