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When You’re Down in Memphis

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Let’s go down to Memphis

Listen to some old time blues

That might be news to me

Feel the joy in the melancholy

As wailing guitars push out notes

Like potbellied tears

And tiny little diamonds

We’ll dance by the stage

With that sweet ol’ man with the cap

How do you say no

To a sweet ol’ man with a cap?

We will marvel

At the Beale Street Blues Boy

His portrait on the wall

The reason for it all

We’ll try those deep fried pickles

Savor the sweet tang of the ribs

Lip smackin’, hip packin’

As we sway to the rhythm

Of the house band

Let’s take a walk

Beside the muddy Mississippi

The sound of the sax

Rising softly at our backs

We’ll ride the horse drawn carraige

Lit up like Christmas

Because that is what you do

When you’re down in Memphis


Rest in Peace, Mr. B.B. King

(September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)



Dedicated to my friend, Ann and a road trip I will never forget.

18 responses »

  1. Nice bold words… stirring up memories of my own. 🙂

  2. I especially like the “lip-smakin’, hip-packin'” ribs and “the sound of the sax

    rising softly at our backs” …cool blues!

  3. What a great tribute. PS: I like your “show and tell” philosophy–a refreshing take!

    • Thank you for taking a stroll through my blog today and for the follow. I will definitely check out more of yours as well. 🙂

      • I’m trying to think of another song your post reminded me of–I think it’s “Walkin’ In Memphis”, but I’ve forgotten the artist. Anyway, it’s good! And yes, I did enjoy my “stroll”.

  4. What a tribute to the King.. I especially like the soul food you describe, it made me hungry.

  5. Greatly evocative poem! I have never been to the South of the USA but I enjoyed what you shared of your trip and especially how you conveyed rhythm and music.

  6. Yes, a fine tribute indeed to B.B. King! I was in Memphis once, but concentrating on the other ‘king’ – Elvis and Graceland. There is something though about the sound of the sax & the mighty Mississippi. Took a riverboat ride there too. Smiles. Your poem has made me want to return. Ha, maybe I would try deep-fried pickles this time.

  7. Fine tribute…and indeed, the thrill is gone. Who will comfort Lucille?

  8. Evocative of the musical hero, bravo.

  9. a beautiful homage…the last four lines are awesome…

  10. A fitting and timely tribute. I can taste the ribs here.

  11. Great tribute to King! I could hear the blues bleeding through… I would def try some deep-fried pickles… so many other things I wanna try deep-fried now that I think about it

  12. Ah.. and as the ‘King’ does show ‘Memphis’
    can become a way of life.. with or
    without the blues of shows
    as YouTube brings it all to life..:)

  13. Love the nod to the ‘joy in the melancholy’ as this contrast is one of the strangest, yet truest, things there is 😉

  14. As wailing guitars push out notes
    Like potbellied tears
    And tiny little diamonds ~

    I love the imagery here. Poignant write.


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