Voices on the Wind Obscure Voices
Big Charlie Butler by CJ Muchhala after “Diamond Joe,” Smithsonian field recording sung by inmate Charles Butler at Parchman Prison Farm, Mississippi, 1937. “Diamond Joe, where you, Diamond Joe?” rain on the roof tin claws of some pawing beast her letter back from Parchman envelope unopened Diamond Joe, where he, Diamond Joe? gone free left no address scrawled across the front Maybelle dreams…Mississip’ eagle scattering— like clouds of cotton— the words he singin’ hollerin’, more like, in that badass voice she know Diamond Joe come a-getta him higher, higher through cottony clouds Charlie’s gone free Diamond Joe come a-getta him she know the words he singin’ hollerin’, more like, Mississip’ eagle a glittering knife scattering clouds of cotton Charlie’s gone free ridin’ high with that badass voice where he, Diamond Joe? claws of some beast pacing the tin roof left no address Diamond Joe