The Blue Dirt of Paradise

by ____________

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1.
Thought I turned a brand new corner To find you waiting there for more Thought I could give you all the good things That I could never give before Thought I needed your forgiveness From which love would finally grow But all I needed was some good old-fashioned heartbreak And the nerve not to let it show Now when I see you in the dance hall I bury all my sorrows low And watch those other boys astound you Talking fast and twirling slow Thought I needed your affection To stand worthy in your glow But all I needed was some good old-fashioned heartbreak And the nerve not to let it show Not let it show Oh, not let it show If my spirit seems high It’s ‘cause I let my spirit go Not let it show Oh, not let it show This ain’t my first time, darlin’ On the dark side of The Road
2.
There’s a philistine joint far from Route 66 With a classic bouquet of cheap liquor and piss Man, she looks like a coffin, smells like the 5th of July You’ve been waiting so long for this world to begin Blowing three years of saving on one night of sin Spread below us: The Future Above us: The Wind And it feels like the floor’s caving in The jukebox is spewing love hollowed by slick So you drop 16 bits upon Feelin’ Good Again Just one glance cross the room There ain’t no one else singing along All the big talk tonight’s ‘bout that new girl in town But you’ve learned best to sit out those first couple rounds Playing cutthroat for kicks, got an 8 ball to split And it feels like the floor’s caving in Old Samson, he’s wielding that jawbone of ass Edging ever so close to linguistic collapse Once his riddles of honey Would threaten to bring down the house Quarter past empty that girl’s on my hip Like some Goddess of Gab, she’s all fiction and lip Feeds a 10 to the juke Judgement, spare me the truth ‘Cause it feels like the floor’s caving in
3.
Woke up in a hospital Lawman creeping on my door Said I bled a .34 Then he told me what his point was for The next month I stumbled down to court After throwing back a couple of quarts The walk home made me plenty sore They strapped a bracelet round my ankle bone I’m still drunk on the inside Still up for the late night Bonfire at the county line Sour Diesel in my best friend’s ride I know you’re thinking that I’ll lose my stride I move slower when I’m high and dry But if your lady’s got a wandering eye I’m still drunk on the inside It’s been hard to replace the booze But I’m finding other things to do Lie about with the Assassin blues Some Henry Miller and some British news But when The Moon kicks a hole in The Sky I’m like a moth to the neon lights Pint glass of ginger ale on ice And I’ll be dancing ‘til it’s closing time
4.
Had enough empty cans for another liter bottle of rouge She looked a shy 17, but her clip said .22 Been from Buffalo to Omaha to Hebo, dying to lose With her daddy’s lucky numbers and the rich girl runaway blues Hopping freight and bumming smoke Plucking banjo for your dough She makes bets with her devil And she lives like it’s all on loan She’s a ¼ Puerto Rican; she’s a ¼ always over the line Some call her Pill-box Hattie, others call her Clementine I got the ’65, blue and white, hell, it drives ½ of the time And if she purrs real nice, I suppose I should let it ride With an ass like Lorca’s throat Game to shatter Verlaine’s nose She wants to drink from The River While she kills from The Drunken Boat She says: You’re walking awful steady For a limp-dick livin’ on wine You got a song for me, daddy I could feed you for the rest of my life Make it an old one, a new one The Blue Dirt of Paradise… Oh, honey, save it for The Crossroads The boys are comin’ over tonight A little blade pulled from the heart Set it up, tear ‘em apart I might speak in daggers But I love like a steel guitar
5.
Rode in on the daylight Hair of a million horns Been 35 hours since proof that I’d ever been born Never knew what time was Until her clock rung out Left the note on the floor Headed south for invisible towns I’ll find The Girl from Ft. Worth A voice of driven snow Back working at the diner she left so long ago Never owned a saddle Never bucked for 8 But now I’ve seen Amarillo by morning From the interstate Motel Cathedrals A little heaven just to be alone Nobody calling me home I send my love to The Road Rode out on the daylight Eyes of Christmas coal Been 59 hours since proof that I’ll ever get born Never knew what joy was Until my heart broke down Gave a cut to the devil Had enough left to spread it around
6.
Cross Rio Grande by grace of morning Words to break and time to pass Showing 2666 like a pistol placed upon the dash Find a cheap room with a shower Lace the mattress with some cash Step on out into The Darkness While the daylight has your back Oh, Mother Mountain There’s a gold mine up on Housing Project Hill There are visions of redemption, visions of the kill You may choose one or the other But will you ever get your fill? It’s that Yellow Rose of Borges On the Juarez window sill Every girl of corner garden Forks the pathways of your mind Gilded mirror of Argentina Pray it would not multiply Never to see that Cordillera Or feel the warm San Telmo night She may lie butchered in a dumpster By the grace of morning light All the words are broken horses All the time is not enough Every story you have stolen Slides back down into the dust With an eye for mausoleums And a mouth for keeping shut Put all your faith in breaking even And drop some coin on the harder stuff
7.
Now You Know 04:47
Wilted laurels of The Family Tree Ferry me down upon The River of Dream Where all that comes before Rides The Serpent from The Shore Shed the time, take it all for true The Sky is under and The Moment is new Yet old in some strange way Go the spoils to The Grave It’s just a taste, only flesh and doubt It’s nice to float until the bottom falls out And all that might have been Rolls away to start again So, down the hatch to The Rabbit’s Trail Breath of dirt, blood of cradling well The End is always now, but The Coin is ever round You’ve done it before You’ve done it before You’ve done it before Now you know And you cannot stop This brief while in The Time of Three All the weight that we ever may need Ropes coiled near The Door Hard to say what comes with Four Feel the pull of the surface light A inch given to the specter of night Grey toll of rusted chimes Fly them now, our weary rhymes
8.
Stack O'Lee 03:00
Deep Morgan on Christmas Eve Was it ’32 or back in ‘93 Let ‘em roll Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee Yellow Moon on The Tulip Tree You heard them 400 Boys, they always play for keeps Call it known Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee Now hear that beast bark Under guiding star Before The Pistol ushers one more to The Dark Apologue of St. Louis A tale a riverboat gamblers and corner queens Let it ring Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee Crooked waltz of the velvet clown We find Fat Boy Billy sporting his new crown Feel the turn Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee Sleight of hand, or count of dice A man’s $5 Stetson is a heavy prize Be it learned Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee Now hear those bells toll For somebody been born A darling wife and helpless babe asleep and warm Little squeeze on the .44 Sends Fat Boy Billy through eternal floor So it goes Another long time coming, Stack O’Lee
9.
Look homeward, angel Upon the one you might have been Had you listened to the others Tried to warn you ‘bout the ways The River bends They say you should have known better Oh, but you knew enough to know You had to dive on in Look homeward, angel You may never go back again Your mama said to find a good man And build a life behind a wall of bricks You used to stack ‘em up with one hand Done some living, girl, since 1996 You still remember all the slow boys Gave their best for the fast times they were in With the morning sun, your Davy did come On a whistling wind We met when we were almost older Than we ever thought we’d live to be And how we laughed about the hard times About the things when, as children, we believed So, let’s forget about years lost To low-heeled shoes and beds of leaf We come from a line of leaving behind Loving more than we keep
10.
Another girl moved on, another deal gone down Another big black cloud pulled too low over this town I need a week or two of driving round At a truck stop in Ontario I meet an old hitchhiker, says he’s going wherever I go The destination don’t matter so Says they call him Saint Benzedrine Though his stash ran dry in the 1970’s Still a nickname tends to cling to you Like a broke barfly spun out on stolen glue Heading southbound along the Oregon line Through Jordan Valley just hunting down a helluva time At least a pretty voice to ease my mind But it’s the same song in a different town A couple Dolled-up Daisies Come to spread their troubles around Enough to make you want to settle down And my new friend, Saint Benzedrine Says these girls come easy, but The Love ain’t ever free And them Old Boys in the corner booth Got a lifetime of shit left to scrape right off of their shoes On a half tank with a heart of clay I hear Sweet Virginia spilling out upon the AM waves Overthrown by The End of Days Now we’re wondering what killed The Radio I say it’s too much talk and not enough rock ‘n' roll Turn it back to The Stones ‘Cause on a long drive with Saint Benzedrine Don’t want to hear that Thin Man preach his fear to me Give me some Richard Hell and a little Kinks Give me some Irma Thomas with a hot back beat Pale mama, long-neck bottle (Words only dangle the soul) Sick mama, can’t stop a coffin From Muscle Shoals to the Malheur County line

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released September 16, 2018

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