Fattening Frogs For Snakes

Rollin’ Stone

for Black Mike Henderson

”Well, my mother
told my father
just before I was born:
’I got a boychild comin’,
gonna be a,
he gonna be a rollin’ stone’”
—Muddy Waters

”I rambled all the time,”
Muddy Waters says,
”& that’s why I made that song
’Rollin’ Stone.’ I was

just like that, like a
rolling stone. But I
didn’t ramble
that far. I remember

when Robert Nighthawk
came through
in the late ’30s & said
he was goin’ to Chicago

& make a record—
I thought he was
just jivin’. He says,
’You come along. You might

get on with me.
We’ll do a record.’ I thought,
’Oh, man,
this cat ain’t goin’ to Chicago.’

I thought goin’ to Chicago
was like goin’
out of the world. Finally he split,

& the next time I heard,
he had a record out. But you know,
I was in love
with my grandmother.

She was getting’ old,
& I didn’t want to
push out
& leave her.”

— Detroit March 26, 1982/
New Orleans December 12, 19 95