Monday, March 16, 2009

The rain crawled down her embony legs and bare feet--bare feat of Lynn, of Jasper, of Memphis, adolescent kisses, 2 am walks through dead leaves last autumn--she just sat there on my third porch step, still and nearly naked. I hadn't seen her in a year, and she seemed so much smaller thatn I remembered. Everything about her was different from what I remembered.

"What are you doing here? Where are your clothes?"

She jerked her head up and stared at me with clear brown eyes, so clear, as if she was about to cry.

"Oh I was swimming in the lake.....I think Di took my clothes.....he's always doing stuff like that...."

For only a moment I wanted to say, "So you came here. Of all places." But my tongue quickly froze when I couldn't taste enough bitterness. No, it's all gone now, everything's deliquesced, gone...

She bit her wet lip and bent her forehead down to her knees. Her bra-strapped shoulders trembled slightly. I stood there and thought, was she expecting someone else? Me, but.....a different me?

But I had to hold her.

I knelt down on the second wooden step and wrapped my arms around her frail body. I thought the weight of her skin would frighten me like it did a long time ago, but everything is different now. She started to sob, and I instinctively held her tighter.

Do you feel me holding you? Do you feel my calloused fingers over the bones in your back? Did the rain sting you? What in this dusk left you naked on this rain-soaked wood?

As I took off my coat to wrap around her, I remembered something I wrote one night by a candle, while I smoked a cheap cigar.

I feel you crying somewhwere tonight
don't know what you want, just what I'd like
I'd like for you to cry if you must
just know I'm praying, little darling,
for your soul not to rust

After I wrapped the coat around her, she fell into me. Her eyelashes batted a few times, and then closed as she mumbled, "Did I come too late?"

No no baby no

Her cold shaking hand beaded with crystal rain found it's way 'round my neck, as if that was it's destination from the start, and then her body went limp. I thought a million thoughts at once; Is this right? Has it been too long? Have I waited too long? Last year I was weary as hell and had no one holding me, no one to catch me when I was cold and naked, no one....

I stopped thinking, and risked everything. All the doubts and grudges and scars and pain that left me blinded cascaded behind me and melted into the muddy grass, and for the first time I wanted it to stay there.

I stood up, broken angel in my arms, and I climbed the stairs....

Monday, March 2, 2009

(Don't Let Me Die) in T-Town Tonight

Don't try to figure out the meaning. Wrote this a long time ago and there'a a lot of "inside" stuff that doesn't make sense unless you knew me well at the time....and maybe not even then. Ah well.

Standing in the street where the phoenix fell
clouds rush in and as far as I can tell
they're falling
the only sound I hear is Denny's chimes
and some train that I've been wishin to ride
and she's crying

James runs back with the wild-eyed queen
both of their hands so full of dreams
I can't taste one
they crash and moan with thunder in their veins
intertwined with tar in motel doorways
howling to no one

it's all just another hometown burning again
trying to run and hide from the persecutors within

CHORUS: spread my arms 'cross eternal centerlights
firefly dance on to the other side
Oh Lord don't let me die in T-Town tonight

Elena's got the Jack of Hearts in her fist
the laws between the tramps and the gents
were our only teachers
I sighed when she turned her hazel eyes to me
the ancient lady of the Desolate Sea
could have painted her features

We've been down where angels fear to tread
I couldn't get her silver light out of my head
and I couldn't lie
her fingers of lace carressed another lover
I could never get close enough to hold her
and so came "goodbye"

sometimes I wonder how anyone here can believe
I could break down to the gravel, but I can't break free


Well the sickness festers in the poor and the lame
no one on earth can play the martyr in this game
that fact is well-known
I was dragged back to the house of my father
tell me, how can he break the heart of his daughter
while night's curtain infolds?

I'll just wait on a Grayhound, but it takes so long
and tin-can alley won't stop singing that song
of no escape
and all these souls that I carve into ink
would rather be swimming in yesterday's drink
'cause the sun won't wake

and the heat burns the legs of the renegade
leaves him at a blank tombstone in the reality he's made


Nightingales, heart-attacks, door locks,
torn bibles, dandelion wine, and bitter rocks
behind every gate
James, Wild Eyes and lover Elena are gone
all anyone wants is one immaculate psalm
and a chance at faith

oh Holy Great Lord, you know what we want
won't you have mercy on this town and give us a response?