Saturday, May 23, 2015

   Any poem about Waylon Jennings needs a song. when Outlaw Country broke, I was in Southern California (actually in Orange County of all places) learning how to hide behind a facade of respectability while still being me. Additionally, I was a graduate student at UC-Irvine unable to replace the vinyl lost in my move West when my parents did not send my records UPS. They saved me money by using the US Mail, which meant most of them were lost.

   As a result, what money I could spare for music was to replace lost records and selectively purchase the best of the new, like Bruce Springsteen. Outlaw was not getting airplay, so it took some time for me to groove on it.

Waylon is known for being a coin toss away from dying with band mate Buddy Holly, and for eventually telling Nashville where to put their slickness. I post a poem about him, and a song in which he mourns the changes in Country music from the times of Hank Williams, Sr.

In The Best of All Possible Worlds

In a backwater town
Far from the Interstate
But close to the siren call
Of rumbling freight trains,
I sit with Waylon Jennings,
Bottle and two glasses between us
In the glow of neon beer signs
Behind an empty bar.

Long-haired and bearded,
Freak and Outlaw we find
Common ground as we express
Who we are, as we chase
Our Holy Grails
Unconcerned with people telling us
We are wrong and foolish.

Each drink, each story, each joke
Fuses our spirits together.
We say the same thing
In different dialects.
Consensus does not imply
Betrayal of one’s roots
But the appreciation of another’s.

As rosy-fingered dawn spreads
From the east over the fields
Waylon and I revel in the
Best of all possible worlds
My lyrics melting into
His flawless music and
His gritty baritone voice.

Arthur Turfa, © 2015     Crank this one up loud!

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