bygone

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we forget how foolhardy we were

in the invincible armour of youth.

courting danger and defying death,

we sped through our days

on a fuel of alcohol and dreams.

locked in that peculiar fierce camaraderie,

an anchorage of friendships so fervent

we imagined they would last a lifetime,

loyal to each other beyond all reckoning.

but the ropes in the end were what broke us apart

those and the improbable dramas of the heart.

perishable

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she is shrill and tawdry

as a gaudy ankle tattoo,

an unwise tequila decision,

in the throes of the morning after,

on a barefoot backup country singer,

shaking a tambourine

at the side of the stage.

 

her high strung brittle beauty

carries an early use-by date.

her hair a cloud of sunshine,

her laugh bitter at the edges,

she never thinks past tomorrow.

she is destined to curdle like cream

left out too long on a summer day.

blue

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lonely streetI turn around and am suddenly struck

by the strange blue light of a memphis dusk

as if the city’s in mourning for itself,

the neon sparse and subdued along the boulevard,

subtle like a dream imperfectly recalled,

as if exercising good taste and a slight restraint

in its representation of twilight.

at that between times hour when

the concession stands have all shut down,

the vendors regretfully shaking their heads

at you as you reach for your money,

the onset of darkness muting like a silencer on a gun

the brash confrontational display of day.

morning

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morning sunI lie in bed overcome by lassitude
and chronic iron deficiency,
listening to unidentified power tools
from some worksite too close for comfort
grind out their harsh industrial symphony,
a neighbour dog barking some faint resistance
in the hazy morning far-off distance.
sink slowly back
into the heavy-limbed languor
of my prescription hangover.
the sun, brandishing
like a swashbuckler
its arsenal of charms,
calls for me in vain.

darkness on the edge of town

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Well they’re still racing out at the trestles,
But that blood never burned in her veins,
Well I hear she got a house up in Fairview,
In a style she’s trying to maintain.
Well if she wants to see me,
Yeah you can tell her that I’m easily found,
Well tell her there’s a spot out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge,
And there’s a darkness on the edge of town.

Well everybody’s got their secrets, sonny,
Yeah something that they just can’t face,
Well some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it,
Yeah they carry it with them every step that they take.
Till one day they just cut it loose
Cut it loose or let it drag ’em down,
Where no one asks any questions,
Or looks too long in your face,
In the darkness on the edge of town.

Well some folks are born into a good life,
Well other folks get it anyway, anyhow,
Well you know I lost my money and I lost my wife,
Those things don’t seem to matter much oh to me now.
Well tonight I’ll be on that hill ’cause I just can’t stop,
I’ll be on that hill with everything I got,
Living lives on the line where dreams are found and lost,
You know I’ll be there on top and I’ll pay the cost,
For wanting the things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town.

 

Written by Bruce Springsteen and performed by Shakey Graves. Lyrics may not be quite as original or even what’s actually sung here …

For more on Shakey Graves, see https://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/why-people-are-paying-attention-to-shakey-graves/.

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