Skip to main content

Etta, a poem by George Fish

Editor's  note: On this date in 1938, Etta James was born.


James    At Last!   in the midst of pop music doldrums
that magnificent voice came along   An’ yeah,
Somethin’ Got A Hold On Me   an’ so many, many others  
An’ yeah, it wasn’t just that It Must Be Love   It Was Love!  
An’ it was a lot more than just a Sunday Kinda Love   But, no,
I couldn’t Tell Mama   straight, uptight, white lower middle class
prig obsessed with shabby respectability   and an ignorant fascist
brutal father  for whom Etta’s powerful voice was just more
“nigger music” no decent  white person listened to   but I did  
guess I wasn’t decent!   But that was the way I liked it—and
wanted it!   Raw, powerful, soulful   ‘Cause I’d Rather Go Blind
than live in a world without Etta James’s music!
I saw her live about three decades before her death   opening for
B.B. King   ‘cause the King of the Blues knew he needed a true
Princess of the Blues to properly open the show   Yeah, so that’s it  
Etta   and this little exercise of Etta-mology in tribute      

            —by George Fish

Bio: George Fish is an Indiana freelance journalist and poet whose work has appeared in several national and regional publications and websites, especially those of left and alternative publications. He has been described as "knowledgeable in an unusual variety of fields." In addition to short stories and poems, Fish has also published extensively on economics and politics; popular music, especially blues; and humor. He also does Lenny Bruce/George Carlin-inspired stand-up comedy.