Monday, April 26, 2004

doyle bramhall

one more twist
of the tuning peg
and then this guitar
will be fit for fables
about fortunes
come and gone
while the stratosphere
cracks like sheets of ice
under the sharp notes
the pick coaxes
from strangely
pitched strings.

things get strange
between the city
and the land that
fills up the continent
on your way
to the coast.

sometimes you run out
of women's names
when there are chords
to be hammered into shaped
for a song that will mention
each corroded thing
you've seen between
cities, it's a life of passing
through , war clouds in the sky,
turnpike food around the bend,
every kiss now less
convincing in rhyme
than a sign
reading that
someone would work for food,
it's about getting paid.

rusted cars and
parts of trucks
rest in arid fields
or rust even more
as it rains outside
on a town's main street.

sometimes there
are no Bibles in the
hotel drawers.

the roads
get darker
between towns
that hold their
acres of claimed earth
after the factories close,
desperate and forgotten,
everyweek another family
moves out, another business goes dark,
another song needs
be written.

the last leaves
in autumn that resist
the wind and cold
and stay with the
branch until
they let go without
fanfare or cry,
they let go
and carried on
a wind until the fall
in a gutter
on a street where
neon burns and every working
car is parked,
drunks try to stand in line,
someone from out of town
is jamming tonight.

paintings of products
that have ceased to exist
have their likeness
on the sides of
liquor stores,
promises of eternal joy
faded, chipped and flaking
away as the smoker's
hand holds only
a scuffed brick from the
wall beneath the
fruitless ad,

it all started as a card game
but ended as a scramble
for chips and piles of cash,
car lights swooped over the motel room
walls, a man kicked in the door
and started yelling a woman's
Mary, Mary...
where are you going to?

the voices crack and splinter
on the harmonies,
each tongue clicking on
the syllables that build
on the slurs which bleed
over the chord progressions
that gain momentum
like thrasher machines
in fields chewing up wheat
at the stalk,
drum breaks are the
throb of aching knees,
bass lines the blood
that still pulses and spills,
guitars the fury of a spirit
that cannot fly above the
atmosphere, away from
the brown, mired country,

many homes to pass
before we sleep,
a twist of a lick, BB King style,
someone wakes up
in the backseat, mumbles,
a twist of the knob, impatient,
news fills the car,

we're not home yet.

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