American Bones

by The New Bodies

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You ainʼt got a million dollars, but you got all your fancy friends taking pictures of each other, holding empty cups of gin. Everything you said you needed you got with a smile. Now, I have been thinking you should hurt once in awhile. Making love to sweet Virginia with your pants around your knees. You cannot be bothered because she canʼt give you what you need. Your fancy friends are calling, so you cut and run; meet them down on Court Avenue. When your legs begin to buckle, isnʼt it time to get home? Because youʼll wake up in the morning and wonder where your money goes. Your fancy friends wonʼt call you if you donʼt pick up the phone. They should have left you down there on Court Avenue.
They served me poison to drink. They served me poison, I poured it down the sink; they knew me better than that. I hid my awful thoughts. I snuck around with bloody eyes but I got caught. Oh, please, you know me! Somebody called the police. When they caught wind, they put me on a leash; they paraded me out here. They said “Iʼll make a lesson of you. Iʼll show the children the things they shouldnʼt do. Oh, their parents will thank you!” Saint Vincent, you had better cut me off; people around here sure know how to talk. They saw my swollen, crooked hands; they wrote about the broken heart in this broken man. But no one gave a damn. So darling, where are we going to stay? Top of the month is still a week away. Keep us warm, Saint Vincent. Saint Vincent, you had better cut me off; people around here sure know how to talk. People around here, thatʼs how they get off.
American bones break. American men take American boys. They kill and they liberate. They use and they throw away. They say “Boy, back in my day....” American girls know the faster that they go, theyʼll sit in the front row. Theyʼll get a taste, then retreat back to West Glen. They wonʼt come around again. Oh! Your neighbors drown in backyard swimming pools, and Hawkeyeʼs passed around the middle school. American mothers say prayers for each other, forgive one another. Stories from eighth grade, mistakes that they all made are packed in a suitcase.
You gave it all, now you got nothing but a bad taste in your mouth that wonʼt get out. You gave it all now you feel like running; but once youʼre out that door, the kids want so much more. Oh, the night is almost over. The cityʼs got all kinds of preachers who say theyʼll take your sin but it donʼt work. Their revivals raise your spirits but then you wake up in the afternoon and donʼt that darkness come so soon? If you think hard you still remember the way the light would dance across your hand.
I was heaven sent to keep you on the ground. I was heaven sent to pull your body down. I was heaven sent so that you don’t get found, Soo-lee. I was heaven sent with eyes of green and gold. I was heaven sent to turn your heart to coal. I was heaven sent to take your weary soul, Soo-lee. I was heaven sent to separate the dead. I was heaven sent to take up in your head. I was heaven sent to hide under your bed, Soo-lee.
Your sister said she’s looking out for you; keeps an eye on what you do and how you’ve been. And your brother wants to share in all the fame; wants to smoke it all away, wants to give a little back again. Your teachers always saw the promised son and what the future could become when you grew old. But you’re still hanging around in your hometown bar. You’re sick of where you are, but you try to find the brighter side. But you can’t let it out, afraid of what you’re going to do. Afraid of where it’s leading you. Afraid of what they’re going to say about you. You feel like you’re straining on a leash and your arm’s too short to reach the holy cup. One more winter here will lead to twenty more, each one colder than before. You struggle just to stay behind.
We got out in winter, December bags under our eyes. They caught us complaining that we could never sever ties. We looked into Lisbon even though we never follow through. Cowboys on the raging ocean; the sky is white and we are blue. Saints and all of heavenʼs martyrs opened up their doors once a week. Bullet holes and Satan on a steeple watched us as we slept on cobbled streets. We sought out our savior and found her on a broken down Ford. Asking “Who will care for you tomorrow?” She said, “Thatʼs what we’ve got sinners for.” Hold your hands up brother; reach the star that shines on you. Give me that divine direction; the sky is white and we are blue.
Heʼd breathe village air on Fridays. Heʼd slum around this town all day because he never had to worry about what day it was. Heʼd fall asleep and that was good enough. Town Center girls in high heels would grow up everywhere heʼd be. “Have you heard of Jesus Christ? Don’t you know heʼs just like me? And if he ainʼt, Iʼm who he wants to be. I was on the path to Heaven, but it ended here on Earth in steel and concrete, oil, gold and dirt.”
Darling, youʼll remember me when your eyes are too bloodshot and your hands keep shaking. You wait for the Marines to come. You’ve got what you need and itʼs hid in the cellar behind a box of matches. You wait for the sky to fall. Well, you had a choice until you went and made it. Darling, you want something more; something you can inhale and breathe into your body. Thereʼs something burning in your hands.


released August 31, 2013


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