DOWN ON THE RIVERFRONT
Playing bottleneck guitar, an octogenarian.
His arthritic fingers coax a life’s history,
ring changes of love and loss,
sketch joy’s birth in pain,
the rhythm an invitation
to close one’s eyes, to swing and sway,
to celebrate death in life, life in death,
to embrace all who join the dance.
Coins gleam in a late afternoon sun
as they drift into a battered felt hat.
Michael L. Newell was a long time expatriate teacher (over twenty years) who has recently retired to coastal Oregon after living in thirteen other countries on five continents. He has also lived in thirteen of the United States. His work has been published in, among other places, Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature, Bellowing Ark, Culture Counter, Ship of Fools, Lilliput Review, and Rattle. He has had a number of books and chapbooks published. Among them are Traveling without Compass or Map (Bellowing Ark Press), A Long Time Traveling, Seeking Shelter, and Collision Course (all from Four Sep Press).
A short film featuring blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell