Utah and Ani – Part One

“Laws.  The good people don’t need em and the bad people don’t follow em, so what are they good for?”

There’s a certain feeling downtown today, like something’s going to change.  Everyone’s trying to act normal, trying to talk at a normal pace, but failing miserably, or rather, failing excitably.  Their voices either come across as slightly hushed under all that pressure, or overly loud, sort of enthusiastically calm.  This is a small town, with a big pot boiling in the back room.  A really fucking big pot.

“swingin’ their scrotums through the underbrushes”

…the pressure is nearly too much, as they walk side by side through the supermarket.  The air-conditioned environment is slightly chilled, but between them the air sparks with heat, electricity, the almost tangible feelings of desire.  It’s nearly too much – but not quite.  They both know it – he’s almost afraid the people around them can smell it in the air.  They stand in the line.  She rubs her breasts lightly against his arm as she turns around, and smiles a small smile.

“You love this country.  You know you love this country.”

Sweat makes its way over lines, dirt and stubble as he leans into the sunlight.  It’s hard, it’s hot, but this way is the only way.  He won’t walk any other way.  He curses the flies, flicking at them with a hand that’s seen more rocks than washbasins, but even they make up the integrated story that is this journey, his life, his whole dirty, sweat-stained past.  If words were actions he’d have blasted and fucked just about everything in the landscape, but that’s how much he loves it.  Despite the swearing.  Or because of.


This kid spends his time scraping his nails gently over his palms.  This kid watches the glint of the other boys’ marbles as they crash off each other and send dirt into the air.  This kid is thinking something over, thinking hard.  This kid wants to know, not who to tell, but how?  And why?  This kid feels that both inaction and action would be the wrong choice.  This kid may not understand as much as your average grown-ups, but he knows a bit more.  Just a little bit more.

“drummin’ ”

Hips sway to the bass beats, green skirt jumps and twirls around bare legs.  She’s got this smile, eyes closed, like her and the music share this joke that no one else can know.  Like she’s got a promise made to her that can never be broken, a promise of whatever it is she’s wanted most all her sweet little life.  Towards her come grins and compliments, offers of beer and pot and hands to dance with.  She denies two for fear of danger, accepts the most dangerous anyway.  Today she wishes she had the promise of forgetting.  

“You know that name?”

They look at each other with surprise and then back to the toothless grin occupying the face of the man on the corner, offering his philosophies from an oddly clean hand that spends its time carrying around plastic bags.  She opens her mouth hesitantly to try and force some politeness through the surprise, but her husband’s feet are still moving and hers follow, always taught by example to just move on, avert whatever eyes you might be fortunate enough to have.  The old man has none of her surprise.  On the occasion that a pure-minded teenager listened, offered a fleeting friendship, the old man spat and swore and shouted, seeing the sympathy he so hated instead of the open heart he unknowingly sealed up with shock.  He forgot that day and believes himself friendly, and will do so until the next time someone dares to give a shit.

“You know what I’m talkin’ about?”

They call it living a lie, sometimes; but this one is a living lie.  Following music he doesn’t understand, living in a house he thinks he built with his own hands, but he bought it off the builders barely two years ago.  He even has the blueprints.  The music echoes up the clean-ish stairs to the empty bed.  He sits downstairs in the leather couch with a glass of red, reading a book.  He realises somehow over a slow period of four seconds that he’s only looking at the reflection of the lamp on the shiny page.  He blinks and looks up – Elvis is standing there in blue jeans and a plain black shirt.  “I’m not dead,” he says.  “You need to stop pretending now.”  Then he’s gone.

“No matter how New Age you get, old age gonna kick your ass!”

January ’07
Written based on the quotes – from “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere” by Ani DiFranco and Utah Phillips


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This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x

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