Hey Mama

“Hey, mama, it’s me!”

Said, “you better wait child!

Said, “you’ve been a long time running!”

“Hey, mama, answer me!”

“Baby boy, you better sit down…Can’t listen when the sun’s out!  My only son this will be so hard to hear.”

“C’mon mama, what do you mean?”

I know you’ve been knocked down.

I know it ain’t been easy.

Nothing ever good really is.

Why you gotta wait so long?

But she said son,

“Let me reason with you.  You think you carry such a weight?

I know I never beat you boy.  Better start acting like this here’s…a race.”

“You ain’t gone far enough to say, at least I tried.

You ain’t worked hard enough to say, well I’ve done mine.

You ain’t run far enough to say, my legs have failed.

You ain’t worked hard enough.  You ain’t run far enough to say…’it ain’t gonna get any better.”

“You picked a bad time
You picked a bad time to listen to me!”

Nathaniel Rateliff

 

Year Upon…Rural Year

What had been wrong with me?

Granite stone with names from different turns.

Could he have been just a tabloid mystery?

So many questions…under a rustic line of pine trees.

Roads winding in and around crevices amassed from weather, oh so turbulent.

Had the journey into deep, gathering country been wrong.

Could he have been just a teacher…giving lessons in distaste.

Offering long, forbidding ways in which love can go to waste.

Year upon rural year…the distance fought never remains.

Climate change offered no manner in which to stay the same.

the End of a Love Song

Death patted the worn leather couch.

Placed in frigid temperatures…the seat seemed to come from 1970…or there about.

He did not offer a love song.

Though in his icy stare…100_1336

it had been apparent to see the End wished for me to stay.

His movement so flawed, so free, like a cold sweat on a summer’s day.

If I could only pass Death by…

There would be no need to ask why.

Positioned knee to knee…

‘should I stay or should I go.’

With a chance glance to smoke from a January sky…

I turned back and Death had gone.

Leaving me with only lyrics to a love song.

Understanding the Blues

The screams would never jostle me awake.

Loud torrents of torment would lull me to sleep.

Mind over matter came with no consistency.

Games of pretend came and went…offering little tranquility.

My bed became a soft rock…providing little cover.

Wild words…a free for all.

Enough so that…I could understand the blues.

God’s Pocket

The working people of God’s Pocket… dirty-faced, uneducated, neat as a pin inside. They Work, marry, and have children who inhabit the Pocket, often in the homes of their mothers and fathers. They drink at The Hollywood or the Uptown Bar… little places deep in the city, and they argue there about things they don’t understand… politics, race, religion. And in the end, they die like everyone else… Leaving their families and their houses and their legends. And there is a dignity in that. If we stop listening to the neighborhood stories like ours… …


The working men of God’s Pocket are simple men. They work. They follow their teams. They marry and have children who rarely leave the Pocket. Everyone here has stolen something from somebody else… or when they were kids, they set someone’s house on fire… or they ran away when they should have stayed and fought. They know who cheats at cards and who slaps their kids around. And no matter what anybody does, they’re still here. And whatever they are is what they are. The only thing they can’t forgive is not being from God’s Pocket.