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for Stanley and Stella


She came without calling ahead.
I slept on the floor and the girls shared the bed.
(Fair play.)

You promised she'd only stay a few days,
Then it's back to her country house two states away.
But they sent me a letter
that said she's not welcome there anymore.

I've been checking on my sources,
And the general report is
She's fond of lighting torches
And blowin' 'em out.

All the gossip on the porches
And the talk in all the churches
Is white as a forest of birches—
drier than drought,
loud as a shout,
empty as doubt.

You sing when your spirits are sunk;
I like to sit in the dark and get drunk.
(Fair play.)

I came home late, wasn't looking to fight,
still I ran your poor sister out into the night.
But I was all thunder, no lightning.
(All bark and no bite.)

This city's got alleys, side streets, and dead ends,
but they hid all the highways to keep us all in,
stuck in the slums with your kin...

… who puts drapes on the lamps
and takes bath after bath
like the world is her raincloud,
her faucet and tap!
Her own private ocean,
and we're just swimming laps!

Well, the ocean will have what it craves;
I'll win your love or roll you in my waves.
And you say you don't mind when it rains?
I'll blot out your sunlight and swallow your planes!

I threw the radio
(my first mistake),
then my hands got to flailing,
caught you in their wake.
You cried and composed yourself,
counting to ten,
while I begged from the street
for you to let me back in!

Now I sit on the curbside and cuss—
I ain't the mountain I thought that I was.
(Fair play.)


from Locust Avenue, released February 3, 2015



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Nettles Charlottesville, Virginia

Folk(ish) band(ish). 1/16 Ir(ish).

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