I Was Blowing My Breath Away – a true courtroom poem

A field by the Shack Up Inn

A field by the Shack Up Inn

Headin’ toward the Shacks
On a Monday night
Gonna hear some nasty blues
That’s just alright

The light was waning
I had paid my dues
Easing off Hwy 61
Ready for some blues

I turned onto 49
A bit South of town
Makin’ my turn
As the sun was goin’ down

At the cloverleaf
The Man was staring at me
I only ran the sign
So’s he could get passed me

I ran it, yes I did
Ran it straight and true
But what was a big Ole
Scaredy cat to do?
His bullhorn said pull to the left

But he really meant the right
I was sorely flummoxed
Not sure what was right
I got a ticket, gots
No problem with that
But circumstances was mitigating
No question ‘bout that

I showed up to court
75 offenders strong
This day’s legalities
Could take all damn day long

Officer Brown had to hurry
Judge took his cases first
I was cool with that
I was not the worst

Lady right before me
Talked a stack of smack
Open container was her brothers
She swore it was a fact

She blew in the register, said,
“I was blowing my breath away!”
“How you gonna charge me?”
“It ain’ gonna get paid!”

Judge said you got to pay a fine
What can you pay?
She said, “ain’ got no money”
This, nor any day!

Judge said $50 a month
The smallest he could stand
She rebuts with $30
She still don’t get The Man!

If you don’t pay it
In jail you will stay
She says, “How you gonna charge me?
I was blowing my breath away?”

Got to have 50 by the seventh of next month
She says I’ll have it by the tenth
She ain’t getting’ that
County Jail gwine pay her rent!

She told Officer Brown
“Don’t you be lying in court”
His temples now throbbing
Knowing his head must hurt

All this lying and denying
He must hear it every day
Woman won’t you quit lying on yoself
And pay yo own damn way

Well, I’m up next
I gots plenty to say
But after her disrespect
I ain’t sure what to say

I mention “mitigating”
Yet I tell the straight-up truth
The Patrolman nods his head, said
“First time I heard the truth”

I’m thankful to “The Man”
His mercy is heaven sent
I pity though the officer
He ain’ allowed to vent!

Hallelujah, the Truth shall set you free!

By Poor William
(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

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