NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 34

By BILL HARRIS COTTON MOUTH BLUES . . . Mustn’t sing that . . . Mustn’t sing ‘bout how they stomp down the embers in a boy keep from having to beat back the flames in a man. How they keep everything, leave nothing. Musn’t sing it that way. Worth my life to even let ‘em see me think it. Have to put a crook in it. Hide it. A Hooded Mantis on a leaf. Sing it slick, way a cotton mouth slinks ‘round a rock. So it seem ‘bout a whole ‘nother something else than what it is. Make it about some — Oh, say, some callous, cold-hearted gal who’s not only done quit me, but turned evil to boot. Yes. & like how everything she say & do is just to teach me her good, sweet peaches ’ll always be out of reach. & how she make me lose my mind the way she treat me. Make me moan the whole night through, ‘cause of the way she do. & how I wind up empty handed & broken heart, too. Hide it over in the bramble of the blues. So it seem ‘bout a whole ‘nother something, 32 other than what it is.