As many of my friends can attest, I’m just not a lyrics person. I have reams of them stored in my brain, but I don’t process their meanings. I can sing along with Led Zeppelin or the Indigo Girls and have no earthly idea what their songs are about until someone points it out or one of the words sticks out and my consciousness pops on. I generally focus on the groove and the sound of the words, but not their meaning. In fact I tend to think that many songs that emphasize the words don’t have strong melodies and it annoys me. Needless to say, you won’t catch me at a poetry slam.
This morning however, I woke up to the Sunday Brunch radio show on the Mountain and they were playing a song called “Eugene” by Greg Brown. It is a traditional bluegrass/country sounding song with spoken word lyrics by an older man with a deep gravelly voice. The imagery is so intricate and clever and deep that I made sure to remember his name so I could find the lyrics later. They were hard to find so I’ll repost them until someone bugs me to take them down.
I think I’ll drive back to Eugene
Get a slide-in camper for my truck
Pack a bamboo rod and hip boots
A book of flies from a Missoula pawn shop
Rub mink oil into the cracked leather
Wonder about the old guy
who tied these trout-chewed flies.
They work good.
Take along my Gibson J-45
made by women during World War II
Coffee-stained stack of maps
A little propane stove
A pile of old quilts
Copper tea pot
and a good sharp knife
Sometimes you have to go look for your life
And I’ll park by some rivers
Cook up some rice and beans
Read Ferlinghetti out loud
Talk to the moon
Tell her all my love tales
She’s heard them, many times
I’ll make up some new juicer parts
Drink cold whiskey from a tin cup
Sit in a lawn chair
Fiddle with my memories
Close my eyes and see
Sometimes you got to go not look for nothing.
The Northwest is good
once you get off I-5
And wander up and down the Willamette, damn-it
On the back, back roads
I know a few people that’d let me park in their drive
Plug in for a night or two
Stay up late and talk about these crazy times
The blandification of our whole situation
And then back to the woods
The dog is bound to find me sooner or later
Sometimes you got to not look too hard
Just let the dog find you
And then head south and east
Maybe through Nevada
The moonscapes of Utah
Stay in some weird campground
where Rodney and Marge keep an eye on things
Everybody’s got a story
Everybody’s got a family
And a lot of ‘em have RVs
I’m on my way to the Ozarks,
to the White River and the Current.
Those smallmouth are great on a flyrod;
they’re not all finicky like trout.
Trout are English, and bass are Polish,
And if I wasn’t born in central Europe
I shoulda been.
Maybe it’s not too late
Sometimes you have to dream deep to find your real life at all
I might go on over through Memphis
I played a wedding at the Peabody Hotel once
twenty odd years ago
And everybody danced
Usually they just sit there and stare.
A few at least sway
But the roads are stupid crowded everywhere
Kids coming along are used to it
All wired up and ready,
or wireless, I guess, and even readier
World peace is surely on the horizon
once us old fuckers die.
I’ll do my part
But first I want to go across Tennessee into North Carolina
Fish some of those little mountain streams
Catch some brook trout,
which are God’s reminder that creation is a good idea
The world we’ve made
scares the hell out of me
There’s still a little bit of heaven in there
and I want to show it due respect
This looks like a good spot up here.
You can try me on the cell,
but most places I want to be
it doesn’t work.
Sometime you got to listen hard to the sounds
Old Mother Earth still makes
all on her own.