Daily Archives: September 12, 2003

Born Outside of Nashville

rededicated to Johnny Cash

Well, yes, I’ve been in prison, and I have been dirt poor
I’ve spent time in worn out shoes and I’ve slept on the floor
And the hat I wear is there to keep the rain off of my boots
It ain’t no fashion statement, just reflection on my roots

I’ve never roped or wrangled, but I’ve been behind a plow
And it’s been quite a row to hoe to get where I am now
I have played for pennies on the streets just to get by
And I can sing a melody to bring tears to your eye

BORN OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE and it’s probably just as well
I never was too interested in how much I could sell
They tell me country Music’s all ’bout heart and paying dues
Well, mister, I’ve been country nearly twice as long as you.

I was raised on rock and roll when Elvis was the king
And I won’t lie, I’ll tell you, man, that’s where I learned to sing
But I learned some from the Beatles and as much from Bill Monroe,
Merle Haggard and ol’ “No Show Jones” taught me to love the show

I love hearin’ Hank and Patsy and the Grand Ol’ Opry
But Sam & Dave and Otis Redding sure weren’t lost on me
You might say that I’m not a purist, far as you can tell
But America is my tradition, and I’ve learned it well

BORN OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE, guess I’ll never be home-grown
But I could never be convinced that’s something you can own
They tell me country Music’s all ’bout heart and being true
Well, mister, I’ve been country nearly twice as long as you.

I’ve never been a Rebel, never fought in any wars
But I’ve met carpet-baggers, slaves and money-hungry whores
I’ve been called trash, and I’ve had cash, ‘least long enough to spend
And I’ve lived through this country in between and at both ends

I’ve spent some time in Memphis, but in northern cities too
And maybe country’s in one place, but I don’t think that’s true
You can keep your rhinestones and your video appeal
As for me, I’ll stand by Austin and the streets of Bakersfield

BORN OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE and it sure don’t feel like home
Time in Music City makes glad I can still roam
They tell me country Music’s all ’bout heart and paying dues
If that’s the case, I’ve been in country twice as long as you.


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Untitled poem

It’s so hard to focus on the subtleties of life
Often times the fountain pen is like a carving knife
On clandestine maneuvers in the dark soul of the night
Without anesthesia or a sense of wrong and right

Once I thought to change the world without making it worse
Living in it seemed a drama that was unrehearsed
It lacked improvisation and was thrown together fast
Product of a culture that was certain not to last

Each unguided moment is a ruby in the dust
You try not to pick it up, but realize you must
Put it in a setting that you hope will resist rust
And watch the vultures settle on it, leaving you the crust

Watch a while and listen, there are voices on the wind
Some may whisper battle cries, and others just pretend
Once in many lifetimes can you recognize a friend
Sacrificed to sibyls speaking that they knew you when

12 SEP 2003

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