the museum of americana

a literary review

Train I Ride (1953) — Poetry by Jeff Knight


Neither of them were who they would be yet,
the skinny white boy and the black guitar
picker, sitting there smoking cigarettes
on the back steps of a Beale Street blues bar
most white folks wouldn’t much care to frequent,
but this one keeps coming. Riley likes him,
can tell this kid grew up without a cent;
the boy has country manners, and the dim
trace of rural Mississippi, softened
by Memphis, in his voice. They sit a while,
talking about songs they like. When they talk
their way to “Mystery Train,” they both smile.
The man counts it off, plays as the boy sings,
once upon a time, before they were kings.


~  ~  ~
KnightJeff Knight is a writer and musician in Austin, Texas. His poems have previously appeared in Rattle, South Carolina Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and online at Stirring: A Literary Collection.

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