DB Cox

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passing for blue

d.k. died last year
in a 24-hour store—
shot by some shaky kid
when he walked
in on a 50 dollar holdup
to buy a pack of marlboros
he was a bluesman
he knew more
about robert johnson
& tampa red
than amiri baraka—
or leroi jones
he used up
most of his time
& all of his options
preaching to the blue
multitudes jammed
into cheap neon
playgrounds along
the whore-haunted streets
of late-night america
where no accusing eyes
ever questioned
the heartfelt disguise
he wore for forty years—
& on the day
his ashes were
tossed toward
the rain-polished sky
there were no
bands playing
no sad fans weeping
no sanctifying poetry
from langston hughes
just a southbound
breeze to ride on
for a white boy
passing for blue

take me to a place

where midnight accumulates
don’t want to see the sun anymore
put me on a train
with no windows
where nighttime lasts forever
& a speed-mad engineer
with a mechanical heart
high balls a coal-black engine
through time tunnels
like a bullet leaving a gun
where the speed of darkness
is faster than the speed of light
dreaming up a nocturnal scene—
mingus & monk softly
behind a tan-skinned lady
white flower in her hair
singing keeps on a rainin’
just give me things
i can depend on
red wine—old times
the repetition
of a blue bass line


a passing breeze
lifts dead leaves
& scatters them over
a tattered rag doll
lying beneath
the dramatic statue
of a bronze soldier
forever frozen
in an intrepid pose
of war-movie bravado
clean-collar tourists
stare from the cover
of stylish shades
taking secret comfort
in the pathetic apparition
in an army overcoat
nose down
in a pool of piss
in the mute humility
of his own guilt
an unconscious monument
tangled in green
triple-canopy dreams
inside crusty
rust-filled ears
the white noise
of city traffic
hums like a Huey—
spectral MedEvac
searching for a soul
more than forty years ago
somewhere along
the mekong river


DB Cox is a blues musician/writer from South Carolina. He grew up in a
Southern Baptist Orphanage called Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in
Greenwood, SC. He graduated from high school in 1966, and joined the Marines
Corps right after the Vietnam TET Offensive in 1968. After being discharged
in 1972, he spent several years playing guitar in bars, juke joints, and
honky tonks across the South. In 1977, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts to
attend the Berklee School of Music where he discovered a thriving blues
scene. After thirty years of playing the music he loves with some great
bands, he moved back to South Carolina where he writes and plays in a blues
band called “P.C. Red & Almost Blue.” He has previously published four books
of poetry, and one collection of short stories called Unaccustomed Mercy.
The EBook collection of poems called Low Blue Notes was recently released
by Underground Voices Publishing, and is available at Amazon Kindle EBooks.