SHORT LEAF PINE

 

this is life as we don’t know it

under the shade of a black oak tree

the bluff and the river run below it

with the ghosts that we don’t see

 

ancient verse has all been buried

spoken word and measured rhyme

honor fades with stories varied

the search for the divine

 

our condolences to the lost

hungered senseless holocaust

may this fact always be known:

this was once a home

 

time is passing like falling feathers

from a bird to an autumn freeze

minds change with every letter

scattered in the talking leaves

 

our condolences to the lost

hungered senseless holocaust

may this fact always be known:

this was once a home

 

out in the valley there’s a black crow sowing

with the needle of a shortleaf pine

the only knowledge is knowledge worth knowing

there’s no canary in this mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AINT NO GRAVE

 

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

 

Look across the river what do you think I see?

I see a band of angels and they’re coming back for me

 

Cause there ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

 

Look over yonder Gabriel, put your foot on the land and see

Don’t you blow your trumpet until you hear from me

 

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

 

Look way down the river, you see people all dressed in white

I know those are God’s people cause I’ve seen them doing right

 

There ain’t no grave that can hold their body down

 

Meet me Jesus, meet me

Meet me in the middle of the air

If these wings will carry me I won’t need another pair

 

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

 

There ain’t no grave that can hold my body down

 

 

 

CHEROKEE RED

 

They raised God in martyr town 

The world was watching, they passed his body around

Lover of light, irreverent place

Dime store tyrants versus saintly grace

Still prayer ascends into harmony’s night

The ocotillo blooms by the Master’s light
Living stone, desert floor
Burn it down and let it rise once more

 

The streets are flooded Cherokee red

What went wrong?
Was it something we said?
Mystic mother still carries the flame

But they’re coming for her just the same

 

High on dreams, breaking ground
Nothing’s ever going to bring us down

Our cathedrals are all prickly thorns

We great the Muse like a stranger in war
I will follow you to the temple’s gate

Throw my caution in the offering plate

The fear in your heart is where passion grows

There will bloom a priestly desert rose


The streets are flooded Cherokee red

What went wrong?
Was it something we said?
Mystic mother still carries the flame

But they’re coming for her just the same

 

BACKROOM

 

hot as hell.  feeling good.  the earth is dry.  so is the wood

 

Here in the backroom

here in the back

here in the backroom

 

nearing a cure.  getting right.  sun’s gone down in the blue of night.

 

Here in the backroom

here in the back

here in the backroom

 

shade of a tree.  rise above.  burden’s down.  wire’s buzz.

 

here in the backroom

here in the back

here in the backroom

 

there’s room here to stop and rest.  room to breathe and room to stretch.

to take stock of what I’ve got left.

 

round pearl.  gold ring.  forgotten gifts.  mama sings.

 

here in the backroom

here in the back

here in the backroom

 

 

 

GOODNIGHT LORENA

 

The heat broke late in the evening

I fixed that guitar to my chest

The songs we sang about leaving

They bounced around my brain in my rest

bounced around my brain in my rest

 

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

Rest well my mourning dove

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

I’m blessed by the grace of your love.

 

We shot across the face of Texas

In traffic as thick as oak

All I could see through the asphalt and trees 

was the shape of your mouth as you spoke

the shape of your mouth as your spoke

 

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

Rest well my mourning dove

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

I’m blessed by the grace of your love

 

The sun rose high in the middle of the day

and shot through the back alley of space

the cloud were tattoos in their amber hues

cast shadows off your face

cast shadows off your face

 

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

Rest well my mourning dove

Goodnight my sweet Lorena

I’m blessed by the grace of your love

 

 

 

ANCIENT LILIES

 

Tall grass grows through the cracks of this house settled in its place.

Ancient lilies skirt the ground where the wood came crumbling down.

Walk up slow, make the rounds, come back in and settle down

 

Were there years of gold?

summers long?

yellow fields burned when you moved on.

 

Falling down.

 

Comanche Appaloosa carried you through your youth and never threw you.

Did you look back with silent grace and see yourself fading away?

Into red shoelaces, bottle caps, jagged tin, paneled glass.

 

Jars of preserves shimmer in rows.

rust on the rim.

Let the memories in.

 

Falling down.

 

The walls talk to me.  Told me things you'd never want known.  

How you stumbled out the backdoor and left your baby all alone.  

You loved the ride the fast horse.  Feel your heartbeat in step.  

Now he’s buried in the side yard under stones of regret.  

 

Falling down.

 

 

PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME

 

Here I am down on my knees

Praying like a falling leaf 

that I’ll find a place to land, down softly in the palm of her hand

Because someday the wind will blow 

and you don’t know which direction you’ll go

Drifting up and then you’re drifting down

Miss her hand and hit the ground

 

So always give your baby a kiss goodbye.  

And take a loving look in her eye

Cause this world don’t always make good sense

You wind up living in the past tense

 

Then is now and now and then 

open your arms and take her in

Everything is gonna be just fine 

at this particular moment in time

 

Pen a letter to your mom and dad

Tell them how much fun you had 

on the trip to New Mexico in the backseat of the Bronco

Or that time when you all stayed up late 

skipped school and the meetings that day

you wound up sitting in your easy chair 

laughing with your unbrushed hair

Or when you and your brother shot the window out 

and the water ran all through the house

They just smiled and patched it up

chalked it up to better luck

 

Then is now and now and then 

open your arms and take it in

Everything is gonna be just fine 

at this particular moment in time

 

The moral of this story is don’t hesitate

you’ll wind up standing at heaves gate 

with a suitcase full of could have beens

that old Peter won’t let you bring in

Seconds are minutes and then there are hours

Go find yourself some flowers 

take a picture of the look on her face 

as she slides them down into the vase

 

Then is now and now and then

open your arms and take her in

everything is gonna be just fine at this particular moment in time

DETROIT SNOW

 

Come night, my devil stands beside me

Death roams, he's a fighter

I do not weep

And now, I’m twisted by the noise

the sound of his voice

but I don’t give a damn

 

Tonight I’m gonna worry about 

crumbling blocks and empty houses

factories on death row 

Jesus Christ is getting by on circuit boards and telling lies 

and no one even cares to know

 

Outside in the rust that’s overgrown

theres a man, working hands, with nowhere else to go.

Inside there’s a plan buried in marrow

we catch each other in the Detroit Snow

 

Tonight I’m gonna worry about 

crumbling blocks and empty houses

factories on death row.

Jesus Christ is getting by on circuit boards and telling lies 

and no one even care to know.

 

In time from the sky and the gutters down below

smoke with rise from the fires and the engines piston throw.

 

Tonight I’m gonna worry about 

crumbling blocks and empty houses

Factories on death row.

Jesus Christ is getting by on circuit boards and telling lies

and no one even cares to know.

 

 

 

THIN BLACK LINE

 

Driving home in the dark

Rain so thick the pavement's a parking lot
Under the overpass everybody is stopped
I keep pressing on
I'm sure it's flooded at the low water road
Quarter mile from my home

I know there will be days better than this

When light will replace emptiness

And for that I am grateful and have no regrets

The wipers are whining

Keeping time with the speed of my breath

I'm praying soon I can give them a rest

Just a thin black line in the middle of a meteor field

Any moment all could be revealed

I know there will be days better than this

When light will replace hopelessness

And for that I am grateful and have no regrets

Pull off the shoulder in the soft brown mud

Park and exit on the passenger's side

Wade in water that is two feet high

It will dry

It will dry

I know there will be days better than this

When light will replace emptiness

And for that I am grateful and have no regrets

 

 

 

BROKEN SMILE

 

Crooked teeth and a broken smile

I’m feeling old today

The winds they swell, stones they fell

Buried my vision away

 

I don’t feel pretty with my makeup off

please don’t look away

if I walk outside with my makeup on 

would you love me either way?

 

I was young, fucking around

putting myself on display

the lights downtown, they’re red and loud

they lit up my first timers face

 

I don’t feel pretty with my makeup off

please don’t look away

If I walk outside with my makeup on

would you love me either way?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL TIME HIGH

 

It was the middle of the summer on the sandflats of the dried up cove

they were parking by the dozens pulling beer out of rear windows

she was sitting on the hood of her boyfriend’s truck

a washed-up Johnny who’d run out of luck

leaving would have been easy but those easy girls don’t get no respect

 

the heat was bearing down like a fist in a bar room fight

103 at mid day 87 in the dark of night

she was sweating clear through his button up shirt

over to the river straight out of work

he was drunk before she got there, she was his only way home

 

It hit an All Time High

it was blazing hot 

you could see it in the sky

and the asphalt mirage 

just a blur of red, the evening sun

when all the bottles were dead her day was done

 

the next time I saw her it was winter on a Tuesday night.

she was tearing up the hardwoods in the field house under fluorescent lights

everything she put up was a beautiful scene 

there were girls crying on the visiting team

they put her name in the books and her score on the very last line.

 

she hit an All Time High

she was blazing hot

you could it in her eyes with each sinking shot

just a blur of orange from the palm of her hand

the whole town watched on, all expect her man

 

He was looking for a thrill far away from the riverside

In the dusty old alleys, crumbling buildings where the downtown died

he knew a man there with powder up his sleeve

he slipped him a fifty as sly as James Dean

tucked around the corner opened his shirt and gave it a ride

 

he hit an All Time High

his mind racing mad

you could see it in his eye 

he gave it all he had

just a hickory stump and a blur of red

when the day was done, her Johnny was dead.

 

that’s right, goodbye Johnny.  Sayonara