Thursday, August 25, 2011

C=O=U=N=T=R=Y=S=O=N=G



A couple of weeks ago, I spent about 8 days with my wife and eldest son, Ryan, in Nashville. As Ryan is a country musician, we went to a lot of shows of country music, bluegrass, and points in between. Ryan and I spoke of collaborating on writing some country songs and so I wrote some lyrics which go with the melodies which are still just Hanklets in the Williams of his eye. Those songs are still in development. You'll know that we've been successful when I surround the ten gallon space that looms above my brainbox with a big white hat.

In the meantime, I've been working on some poems influenced by those lyrics. C=O=U=N=T=R=Y S=O=N=Gs, you could say.


LONESOME SONG

1.

the intense conviction of
I hope you don’t think
the existence of
I’m backward
the self apart from culture is
if I look forward to looking back
as culture well knows
on looking forward to you
its noblest and most generous achievement


2.

for every kind of beasts, and of birds
we want brains and Hank Williams
and of serpents, and of things
we want what’s inside your head
the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind
oh we’re country zombies
but the tongue can no man tame
you never feel more unalive
it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison
than when you’re undead

3.

O that I were
words fail me, he said
where I would be
let me just say
then would I be
there are no words to say
where I am not
what I don’t know how to say
but where I am
what might better be left unsaid
there must I be
nothing I can say
and where I would be
can express what there are
I can not
no words to describe

4.

forget trains and trainsmoke
who whet their tongues like swords
valleys and the lonesome road
who aim bitter words like arrows
forget mountains and old songs
shooting from ambush at the blameless
until times get hard
shooting suddenly and without fear
forget the moon and dogs howling
they hold fast to their evil purpose
about playing the steel guitar
they talk of laying snares secretly
forget the words of those old songs
thinking, “who can see them?”
when times get hard

5.

the intense conviction of
I hope you don’t think
the existence of
I’m backward
the self apart from culture is
if I look forward to looking back
as culture well knows
on looking forward to you