“Apollo Blue’s Harp” — a poem by Ed Coletti

January 29th, 2019

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Apollo Blue’s Harp

Apollo Blue, come blow harmonica.
The blues in the meadow, the brass in the horn.
The drum hammers beating where thunder is born.
Guitar clears its throat of a twang in the morn-
ing. No time exists where the boy sucks and blows.
Harp’s spirit singing wherever he goes.

The naming was the creation down in Birmingham, Alabama
when his mam and his pap had little Buster baptized
Apollo after that theater up there in Harlem in New York.
Buster Blue would have done just fine, but so little that
Apollo Blue would grow to know might of come from it.
They gave him an accordion like little Leadbelly’d played
before he found the guitar and his own voice.
That damned squunch box, boring, too much weight
too great a deal to learn so many notes all pushing and pulling.
But that first harmonica Buster found in the gutter, Oh!
Just his lips and his breath with the blues, soul and music!

He removed the accordion, the straitjacket.
He blew and he drew on the harp he had found
that continued to find him the rest of his life.
As full days and night hours blew through and by him,
Apollo Blue feared he’d better stop blowing
or soar way too high and lose grip on the earth.
Such fear of flying to where only God knew.
His choice was to stop or learn far too much.
He made his decision to never come down.
Leaving the projects and bully boys, became
one with his harp blowing G, C, or A.

His ancient namesake, the first Apollo, tested his bowstring
preparing to kill but healed birds and stags, and
enmity rose to find its own soul
soothed and music-saved from an adverse stringed bow
transformed to good, that sort of magic Apollo Blue
could do when he bent a note, tamping it down with
slight extra pressure like a prayer or
mystic dream, as he fell under the spell of such gods
as George “Harmonica” Smith, Little Walter and more
lately, of Rod Piazza, not to mention, from the pantheon,
Sonny Boy Williamson, James Cotton, and Charlie Musselwhite.

Play on, Apollo Blue,
……………………………………….play on.

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by Ed Coletti

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Ed Coletti is a poet widely published internationally and he curates the popular blog “No Money In Poetry.” Additionally, Ed is a painter. middling chess player, and harmonica player. He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California.

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Ed has news of a collection of poetry, of which he writes:

“Apollo Blue’s Harp And The God’s of Song takes off from my chap book Jazz Gods (from eight years ago) and adds further poems with musical themes including Rock, Classical, Blues, and much more Jazz.  It is a full-length collection and includes a character, Apollo Blue, who is a Sothern blues harp player who’s crossed paths with, and taught licks to, such as Dylan and Lennon.  Apollo Blue is not omnipresent here but does show up from time to time and at significant moments.  The book is divided into thematic sections each introduced by an applicable triolet. Apollo Blue’s Harp And The God’s of Song has gone through a long and convoluted publishing history, has been eagerly anticipated by a wide audience, and will be published during February 2019 (available through Amazon).”

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One comments on ““Apollo Blue’s Harp” — a poem by Ed Coletti”

  1. Mr. Coletti,

    This is a fine poem. Very cool. I like the imagery, the narrative voice, and the music of the poetic diction. The poem is alive. It sizzles. I also have long loved blues harmonica, and you make your poem sing like a lively blues harmonica. I salute your achievement.

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