A FINAL DUET
I place my steady hand, for a moment's touch, on my love's long pearly neck,
To bring a sound so clear, that a troubled man might forget his pain in song.
But the sound’s all wrong, there’s a troubled note, so I hold my banjo high
And hands on nut, I swing it hard and let a good one fly…
I beat my wife, with a five string banjo.
It’s a memory, I just can’t let go.
And when the five-string broke, I grabbed my four,
Since it was lighter, steel-rimmed, it only took one more.
You tell me all about murder,
How it’s always been taboo,
But wearing my shoes, you’d do the same,
I’d bet, if I was you.
We were both warmed up and eager,
We started “If I Had a Hammer” ala’ Pete Seeger
It’s C, E minor, F, and G…
But wouldn’t you know it? She strummed a “D!”
I simply lost it, my eyes got blurry,
A blood red shroud cloaked the room.
She snickered that snicker that made my blood hot,
So I smacked her with the Washburn’s pot.
It must have been that first hit, which caught her by surprise.
It knocked out both her front teeth and seriously crossed her eyes.
She reached for her brand-new Mitchell, but I jumped and beat her to it.
She’d have hit me a whole lot harder, I sure-as-shit just knew it.
So I wrestled it from her, distracting with a with a kick to the shin,
Knowing full well, if I got my grip I’d be smashing SOMETHING in.
Raucous musical interlude
I play alone know, when the Warden’s feeling weary,
He likes “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” He says it makes him cheery.
And I think back to what I lost, the Thorn and the gilded Rose
The Thorn and Rose… my nicknames… for my favorite old banjos.
No I don’t yearn to feel that rainstorm kiss or our slow Virginia reels,
Or a soft lover’s whisper 'round midnight and the way a woman feels,
Some men are made of sterner stuff, so they pull a heavy load.
And see sights and do things in haste that don’t follow the lawman’s code.
You see, there's never been a tune, that just for want of change,
Replaced the words and melody to make the music strange.
Or rearranged its rhythm, or dared rewrite its chart
To make its minors into majors... but not so the heart.
So when the claw-hammer no longer stirs your soul
And you can't find the right note to fret,
All that's left is a “If I Had A Hammer”
Or a life and death banjo duet.