Blues for Louis. Carol Grimes. ©
Louis playing Congas and my son Sam on the drum kit in 1975 in The Tabernacle before it was refurbished – A Benefit for a playground in Powis Square London W2
Written in 1985 Recorded on The C.D. Mother in 2003
Blues for Louis ©
Inside my room, single bed, sink and gas ring
I listened to the blues, black vinyl warm spinning
my heart wanting the sound in my mouth.
Outside a window open in the summer heat –
the street the rowdy – dow of Earls Court Road
Saturday night down to Louis subterranean home-
made mystic with leaves, sticks-
stones, incense filling the air –
as he cooked fragrant food from Mauritius-
new tastes for my tongue,
his hands beating time on a drum–
singing the songs I never forgot.
Seeking bohemian magic in Soho where Jazz is,
late afternoon sun shooting lights and dusty smoke spirals-
setting fire to golden brandy in my glass.
Sitting small in beatnik black and blue velvet-
taking in mind seeds, drinking the juice of truth –
hanging on to the threads of dreams wanting love and more-
Bottling for Paris Nat in Piccadilly one spring his accordion-
squeezing out the songs of France and the war-
lost love and more.
Down to the big river.
A mournful London lullaby of tugboat and train-
the evening rain on my face.
I remained at the riverside, mesmerised by the water,
the tide and the flow of it, the comforting old of it.
A raucous chorus of seagulls-
winging in on the wind from the sea in the east-
hungry for the city’s feast.
Castles and elephants, bridges and spires, factories, domes –
a million little red brick homes. Back to back, side by side – row by row.
Elegant stucco houses in Crescents Streets and Squares.
Mansions in Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Highgate, Hampstead St Johns Wood.
Grand apartments overlooking Parks Heath and the River.
Back to my home on All Saints Road.
The Grove, next door to The Mangrove.
Now, I am in a winter mean morning – wind raw in Bethnal Green,
grey London streets bloodshot with buses.
A woman catches my eye.
I smile, she curses, her voice a sore sound in the air-
howl and scowl.
I knew her a long lifetime ago.
He droops over his big issues near asleep
underneath a stooped back,
heels clip clipping, cigarette tips glowing.
Underground sulphur smell, hot breath-
bodies close and souls apart, swaying in a metal tube.
Eyes avoiding eyes avoiding touch.
Mind the gap.
Behind newspapers roaring the words of war once more.
Which was where I came in. War 1944.
Glow burning sunset on top of a hill, purple night-
inching in from the west.
In the City below –
Sirens wail and headlights strobe flicker –
between the leaves on the trees; on the roadside, a dog laughs –
A man barks and the breeze lifts the hem of a skirt –
as flowers low bow to the earth.
I look with older eyes through tears and a once upon a time song.
I remember Louis and the drum and the song as
I sing my blues………….
Blues for Louis. ©