Cross Roads

Posted: March 29, 2010 in Poetry

CONTEXT: October, 2008

My desire to write a song turned into not one poem, but two. This is that one where I actually sing.

I performed it once and I was SO stressed out from the singing that I probably won’t do it again, unless… except… well, that will have to wait.

It is based on Cross Roads Blues by Robert Johnson. A lot of you probably know this song from the story about Robert Johnson (or Ralph Macchio in the movie inspired by the story) going to the cross roads and selling his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to wail the blues. This poem uses that interpretation.

That is not actually what the song is about, though. It is actually about the danger a black man was in at the time and place if he found himself out after dark.

That is a lot scarier than the devil story, in my opinion.

    Cross Roads

I went to the crossroads
Fell down on my knees

Looking, searching
Never satisfied
With what I have
Looking, searching
Past my blessings
For a little extra

I went to the crossroads
Fell down on my knees

Travelling miles of thought
Never moving
Magic styles are sought
Never growing
Tragic deals are bought
Never learning

Asked the Lord above, have mercy now
Save me if you please

How do I ask for mercy
When I came to the crossroads
To dice with the devil
To make wagers and deals

I was going to ask for a muse
To keep the fuse lit
To fit thoughts to script
Ideas to slip and slide inside
The mind to find that the sun never sets
On my creative empire

Standin’ at the crossroads
Tried to flag a ride

I arrived but could barely find
A signpost along dusty lines
Heading to god knows where
Or maybe just the devil
In the middle of the throng
Dishing out the wrong
To those looking for the right
The dark, while seeking out the light

Didn’t nobody seem to know me
Everybody pass me by

Seekers lined up and stretching
Out in all directions
People looking for the hard/easy path
With souls as currency

Standin’ at the crossroads
Risin’ sun going down

I watched artists and athletes
People who used their bodies and minds
As tools and instruments
All with one thing in common
They had no need
They already had

I believe to my soul now,
I am sinking down

Each one stepped to the devil
Palm outstretched
Asking for that extra inch
That extra award
That extra ten on an extra white board

You can run, you can run

Each one signed and move away
Grasping their prize
Something that could only be seen
In their own eyes

I got the Cross Road blues this morning
Baby, I’m sinking down

While the desperately misled
Signed on the bottom line
The devil produced the
Invisible bounty
From within themselves

I went to the crossroads, mama
I looked east and west

I saw a faustian deal
Of snake oil proportions
As the devil took souls
In exchange for their own possessions

I went to the crossroads, mama
I looked east and west

I learned and turned away
Returning to say
That we all carry the tools within
To do and be what we see
Behind our eyes

Lord, I don’t need to trade a thing
In my distress

I went to the cross roads
Fell down on my knees
To praise everything I already have
And everything I can already be


Next is a poem that I seem to like more than anyone else does. 🙂


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