King of Americana

Being the King of Americana
might mean nobody knows your name:
except for the local bartenders
who still serve you just the same,

while you’re sitting on the mike for three hours,
singing songs that nobody knows,
wearing out strings for a hobby that brings
in about thirty dollars a show.

Being the King of Americana,
you know at least a thousand songs by ear;
but in a three-strong crowd, there’s always one who’s loud
with something else they want to hear:

another song about scraping the bottom,
another ditty on the journey down;
and you hate it, but you play it, one more time,
just before you pass the tip jar ’round.

One more round, please, for the band,
who’ll shuffle, waltz or swing
at your command; the next four hours
they’ll play anything.

Hold your applause until you hear
the last guitar chord ring…
then give it up again
for the Americana King.

Being the King of Americana
might mean you know no one cares
about how songs are born and die
in curses, tears and prayer;

and each one takes another’s place
to catch the public’s ear.
You hope to find enough of them
to pass for a career.

One more round, please, for the band,
who’ll shuffle, waltz or swing
at your command; the next four hours
they’ll play anything.

Hold your applause until you hear
the last guitar chord ring…
then give it up again
for the Americana King.

05 SEP 2007

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