Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap: Long Live the King, Poem Dedicated to B.B. King

Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap: Long Live the King, Poem Dedicated to B.B. King
Jenean C Gilstrap
Famed blues guitarist B.B. King in a 2009 performance. Source: flickr. Author: Tom Beetz

Famed blues guitarist B.B. King in a 2009 performance. Source: flickr. Author: Tom Beetz

Just days ago, on May 14, 2015, the world suffered the loss of one of the greatest guitarists/vocalists of all time – Riley B. King – known to all as B.B. King – King of the Blues.  To him, his music and his memory, this piece is dedicated.


long live the king


riley ben king

known as bb king

was the king alright

king of the blues


born in the delta on choctaw land

berclair plantation taught ‘em to withstand


better not look down


down there in the bible belt of segregation

that ole belt beatin’ down his blues vibrations


chains and things


where stokely gave black power its rightful name

but nothin’ nothin’ never changed

segregation stayed just the same


there must be a better world somewhere


pickin’ cotton or takin’ a tractor for a drive

he did whatever tryin’ to survive


come rain or come shine


just four years old when his momma left home

another man had taught her to roam


ain’t nobody home


so with grandma elnora then he lived

and at the baptist church learned to forgive


help the poor


singin’ sundey gospel ‘n listenin’ to the blues

heartache rocked him through and through


the blues come over me


got his first guitar when he was only twelve

and from then on there his heart dwelled


let the good times roll


served his country true then said adieu

an’ left his roots for them memphis blues


i’m moving on


down on beale street is where he stayed

doin’ ten cent street corner serenades


never make your move too soon


played for the ladies and played with ‘em too

there wasn’t nothin’ he couldn’t do


since i met you baby


then he got a new lady all pretty and nice

named her lucille and never thought twice


rock me baby


‘bout bein’ her man the only one

with all them others he was already done


darlin’ you know i love you


he and his lady played them juke joints one and all

rode the chitlin’ circuit to symphony halls


when love comes to town


the king burned the blues into their hearts

and had ‘em hooked right from the start


broken heart


but ever’ night only one sang him to sleep

that frank sinatra with a voice so sweet


stand by me


and now the king strums those fluid strings

on gentle floatin’ gossamer wings


sweet little angel


sitting on top of the world


to know him was to love him


and for those who did


the thrill won’t never be gone


long live the king


bb king

king of the blues



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Jenean C Gilstrap

Since childhood, Ms. Gilstrap has had a love of words-of writing and other arts. An individualist, she chooses not to follow any pre-conceived pattern for the outlay of these words – rather, she allows them the freedom to forge their own path as they make their way from her heart to pen to paper. Her art work involves both photography and mixed media on large canvasses. She is a weekly featured poet in Yareah Magazine where her works have appeared for more than a year. Her piece The Granite God was the winning poem in Painted Bride Quarterly Sidebar #12 [2012]. Her work has been featured in performance poetry theatrical productions in Louisiana and her short story, Retribution, published in the Helicon Literary Magazine there. She and her gypsywomanworld blog are included as character/story elements in Ghost Key, the fictional work of award-winning author Trish MacGregor. Her first volume of poetry [2013], words unspoken, is available in both paperback and on kindle at amazon. She currently divides her time between her home in Louisiana and the east coast as she completes her second volume of poetry to be published in 2013.

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