I Got Hope


I Got Hope (Thanks To Robert Johnson)

room around me is empty

suitcases packed

with nothing but horizon

long wide empty

I got hope

lordy I got hope

if I got nothing at all

least I got hope

hope is better than nothing

dog done died

no litter for the cat

birds won’t nest in my hair

factory closed boarded up

no job anywhere

road to hell paved with sighs

there’s nothing on the horizon now

except this hope in my heart

lordy I got this hope

a little golden throb

that tells me even if I got nothing

I got hope

the tv tells me bombs going to drop

hell fire going to rake the earth

the end is neigh around the corner

tells me disease is rampant

drugs is just a short snort away

there’s nothing much anyone can do

so why bother

but as long as I got some faint glimmer

I’ll bother ‘cause lordy I got this hope

hair’s falling out

can’t always get it up

not that there’s anyone

who cares if I got hair ‘cept myself

no one to get it up for  ‘cept myself

I roll away from the curb

walk down streets

that echo with slamming doors

gotta keep moving

one step after the other

that’s the way to hope

the way to get me past this point

to the next one

crawl over the broken glass promises

past futile empty hand wringing complaint

gotta reach deep in what’s left for hope

things is bound to change

to something better than nothing

I sleep with no dream but hope

my teeth are aching

my back bends and creaks

in ways I thought impossible

window cracks let in cold air

sun burns where I’m bare

people don’t care

my expensive suit

palm pilot lap top shield

doesn’t fool them a bit

they know I’m just another knob

in the set of life

twist and turn

till it tunes in what you want

what they don’t see

is that I got a deep hope

that’ll last longer than any tune

they’ll find by fiddling

with the elements around me

a song and dance

that will take me through

the night of dark portents

because no matter how dark it gets

lordy I got hope

hope that I’m going to get there

before I die

before I die


moon for the misbegotten

This month I am looking at some of the pieces I may be reading as part of Born To Be Blown. I Got Hope was written for tribute night for Delta Blues. There are many blues styles that with a bit of listening one can come to recognize. New Orleans style is very distinct from Delta. That is a history too complex for me to talk about here.

I’d never written anything in this style before but I knew that if i stuck tot he basic patterning I’d have a solid foundation. Part of that pattern is repetition – often theme with no variation just keep hitting the same – here I do that with I got hope. But I do depart with variation by letting this become a bit of a list poem.


stick it to me

I was listening to Robert Johnson as I wrote this and some of lines are sprung from his. Which one? Can’t tell you. An earlier version did more of the traditional double up: ‘room around me is empty/ room around me is empty.’ I let go of that when I wanted to capture the spirit, the mood rather than the absolute form.


ain’t got a TV

An early version was also more sexually suggestive. There is a great tradition of double-entendre in blues – ‘a need a little more sugar for my bowl’ to put it mildly, or less mildly ‘it ain’t the meat it’s the motion.’ I didn’t pursue that because it can be too easy for me to lapse into raunch & to write something without it was a part of the challenge for me.


cone so alone

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