Tag Archives: Homage to the Authors and Songwriters of Americana

Badlands Breeze

Badlands breeze

blows hard, blows mean

spitting time back in our faces

burying our dreams all over again

beneath oceans of dirt;

We waited for better days

that came and went,

while we were barely awake

ghosts of a hundred factories

ghosts of a million Tom Joads

marched into the long forgetting,

where places and names are tossed away

with the crumpled old maps

they were written on;

And the new geography

with their digital maps

don’t mean too much to anyone

their places and names are nowhere

anywhere near here,

Here the Badlands breeze

blows hard,blows mean

where all we inherit is

an empire of emptiness

a kingdom of sand.

Another Early ’70’s Neil Young Song : Time Lost

Did you ever wake up

in the middle of the night ,

wandering where the life went

you should’ve led ?

And did you ever wonder

in the middle of the day ,

what happened to all

those books you never read ?

And at day’s end

in your lonely room ,

did the thought ever strike you

what became of that woman

that you never met ?

Author’s footnote : – See also ” Early ’70’s Neil Young Song : Lost Time ”

An Arcade Fire Song (circa 2010)

Torture Song

We waited up for you
to come home from work that day ,
that day the markets crashed
and we knew you were busy ,
busy working working in your office
in that tall steel tower ;

On that day the markets crashed
we never saw you
or heard from you again ,
all that we knew was Mom went into town
and helped identify your remains ,
and when she came home
we packed all our bags and drove off
to her parents’ in Vermont ;

We’re so much happier now
now that the tall steel towers are shut
and that you are gone ,
you lied and you cheated ,
they lied and they cheated ,
you stole other people’s money
they stole other peoples’ money
and that’s no longer funny now
now that we know .

Searching for Alicia May : ( Notes from the Investigation )

: That dirt track
leading into the woods
the shortcut into town
where years ago Alicia May went missing.

” Didn’t have CCTV back then ,
so in town that day
no-one recalls seeing her
not at the grocery store,
all-nite gas station nor by
the bus depot “.

” All along that dirt track
they searched for two whole days ,
that was was after Alicia May
got reported as missing by her grandparents,
though she’d gone missing before
they never said anything at the time “.

: Later they would confide to the cold case detective,
that reporting her as missing the first time
would only have upset her aunt and uncle
with whom Alicia moved in right after
the fire a year earlier.

” Come to think of it ,
she had disappeared before
on the anniversary of the fire ,
that took both her parents
and folk forget like how Alicia May
wasn’t home when the fire started and no-one
could recall seeing her around on that day “.

: Summers came and went
and the woods didn’t see much
of kids from the neighborhood as once before ,
stories had gotten around
about Alicia May taking that
shortcut into town .

Early ’70’s Neil Young Song : Lost Time

Time turned into a blizzard

and blew away all that

we could remember ;

all those times that we’d forgotten

to say the ” I’m sorries ”

the ” I love yous “,

All just got piled up

on the bone dry

mountain high drifts of snow ;

White tumulii ,

where yesterdays and all our

never will be’s are buried ,

after they all got

blown away in the blizzard ,

that stole away

all our ” I’m sorries “,

though we never were.

What Being A Good Samaritan Really Means

They threw his body onto the sidewalk,
sped off toward the Interstate;
he was still breathing
as they gathered,
he felt his pain
as they closed in;
an old man took the Rolex,
two winoes came to blows
a shoe apiece and managed to rip the pants,
the Hugo Boss jacket was too bloodied
for anyone to covet,
though small jealous hands ledgerdemained
an all too heavy wallet;
he was still breathing
as Cops came and drew chalk outlines,
taped off the street
ushered everyone away,
he was still breathing
when a Coroner’s ambulance came,
he heard strange distant voices confirm that
he was still breathing;
over at O’Malley’s Bar
the grifters and working stiffs
had something to talk about
before watching the game’s final quarter,
as the deaf bartender served them
some more “Boilermakers” he wondered if
he was still breathing.

What Obeying The Law Entails..

Their daughters worked the “Viper Room”

until four a.m.

there’s only charred wreckage

on the spot where it stood,

the Fire Department logged the call

at four thirty-one a.m.

forensics revealed the fire

started much earlier;

seven bodies were found,

shocked the township

newspapers said,

sympathy and flowers

were slow in coming

grieving relatives left much unsaid;

the Priest read from Deuteronomy,

something about cutting down groves,

amongst those listening

some involuntarily wiped their hands,

in case the kerosene smell


What Absolution Feels Like..

She’d worn her bright red skirt
low cut top and boots as usual,
Saturday nights were just too
slow without them;
after she’d left the “Diamond Bar”
there’d been a ruckus ,
some guys had lost all their
money playing five-card stud:
hyped up they took to smoking joints
and drinking in their pickup truck,
later she strolled nonchalantly
across their feral radar;
after they gagged her
they took turns,
when they’d finished,an old baseball
bat was smashed across her face;
two days later she woke up,
her face all broken,
bandages over her eyes,
a newspaper left by her bedside
reported a candidate’s speech,
” we must restore law and order”
had her eyes seen that story,
her dyslexia would’ve let
those words escape her.

( One of a number of thematically linked poems inspired by songstories of the Americana genre..Richmond Fontaine,Hold Steady,Drive By Truckers,Felice Bros.Arcade Fire,Calexico )

Early Delivery..

Long road nights,
away from cargo terminalled towns,
days passing by like strangers
across midwestern plains,
beating time chasing sundowns
roaring on into chimeras
of purple-flecked dawns;
sights and sounds streaming north
skies bleached passing fast fading
truckstops neon-pink motel signs,
listening to the broadcast game
fade in and out with
the commentators’enthusiasm,
a stray memory of
another game a long time ago
those watching it running down their
lives soaking in the tavern sweat;
Long road nights,
running that clock down,
passing anonymous cities
their silhouetted skylines,
on toward the rumbling
karotine-colored dawn
crashing down breaking
into the final day;
scouting for that dirt road
miles off the Interstate,
rolling up to the farmhouse,
rendezvous with the Man in shades,
and a bulky manila envelope
exchanged for the cargo manifest;
drums of fuel oil
and pallets of Ammonia.

(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right to be identified as author of this work)

Broken Journey..

brokenbread winespilled,
burning candles at both ends
in nameless bars
somewhere lost on the
map of nameless towns,
downtown timeout
from pulpit and prayers,
taking boilermaker sacraments
amid thumping jukebox sermons
of betrayal and distrust,
banished pilgrims
silhouetted in smokewreathed
pooltable lights,
love n hate tattoo knuckled
truckers and female denizens
rehearsing their nightly catechism.

Hunted hunting,
holstered badged,
feral eyes
90 degrees
180 degrees
at Armanied,coiffured,
tracking for connections
or “mules”,
white stetsoned,stringtied,
scour unobtrusively
in the shadows
for more day labor;

Wearied wearying,
the long vigil til dawn,
the early Greyhound at 7
two blocks up by the post office
from this nameless bar
in this nameless town
somewhere on the map
he left behind.

(this is a “homage” to the songs and the novels and
just about everything else by my mate Willy Vlautin)