Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Blues Talk," by Hans Ostrom


Blues talk, blues and talk, the need
to feel something, something real,
the want to break something,
to break what's learned by rote, take
the parts and heal them together
one time with the sacred and the frivolous
itch to play:

such is the incubatory campaign
that elected 12 bars
and gave jazz a lasting victory.

And you, you, you will want
to spend time with music made
by people with a freed inmate's
attitude, a worker's not a warden's,
and surely, surely not a guard's.


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