Song of the Week: “Why Is It So Hard” by Charles Bradley

O Charles, I don’t know why it’s so hard, I really don’t, even if I thought I did I’d be too embarrassed to say, any blues this loud is always a helplessly rhetorical question, like the soggy Chinese takeout menu bow-tied around my apartment building’s doorknob under what calls “freezing drizzle,” like the Baltimore placekicker last night becomes for now the only goat to damn for years of blighted row houses and laundry draped over streetlights, like the “2 YEAR POST-OP BIKINI VIDEO” linked to your video, Charles, like the suicidal Chinese factory workers roused with a biscuit and a tea to make sure our phones got glass screens, they’re Americans too, like the exasperating scraggle of your very white backup band (but at least everybody took off their sunglasses), and I wish America were more like the look you give the audience at 0:33, but Charles I think America is actually a night train to a city whose name we can’t spell no matter how many ex-lovers live there.

-Mike Young

Mike Young is the author of We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough, a book of poems, and Look! Look! Feathers, a book of stories. He edits NOÖ Journal, runs Magic Helicopter Press, and writes for HTMLGIANT. Find him online at

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints? Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

See all Songs of the Week here.