Listening to Hank Williams by Caleb Puckett


563187_507505829315613_1983384639_n_003I open my jug of wine in the shadows of the station. I whistle at the passing trains. I’m a lost musician riding a casket down rose-strewn highways. Here on the bayou, the stars turn purple as the earth toils with funeral music. Here on the bayou, the garden turns red with a lost whippoorwill’s cry. Here on the bayou, the leaves scroll blindly and fade down that long, long path towards the Master’s plantation. I’m rolling lonesome beyond this sunset. I’m rolling lonesome behind a cloud. I whistle and wait. Weary blues. I open my jug of wine and cover my face. What would you have me say of faith?

Memory is a hallowed voice. Hallowed be your name, my dear. Glory. Glory, dear. Glory turns us all gray. Glory to your curly hair anyhow, anyway. Yes, your grand house in Savannah was such a fine altar, but I never bowed to your Master. Yes, a faithful pride betters blind love, girl. Your kisses crumbled like clay. I rolled and I rambled. I rambled and I rolled. Weary blues. Good Lord, I put miles on these boots. Still the moon-bright lilacs die. Still smoke chokes the heart of morning. Still the gates of peace swing shut. So I open my jug of wine like I opened your false heart, drinking deep the lonesome darkness. I whistle, willing nothing beyond. But I’ve got to pick guitar after the train blows midnight. Lord, my sorrow’s cost me everything but these six strings bent against the weight of night.

~ Caleb Puckett

Caleb Puckett lives near some of those cornfields in Kansas. His writing has appeared in a range of publications, including Diode, Mad Hatters’ Review, Moria, NOÖ Journal, and Shampoo. He has published verse chapbooks with Plan B Press and The Feral Press (an imprint of Prehensile Pencil Press), as well as two book-length prose collections, Tales from the Hinterland and Market Street Exit, with Otoliths.


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