Wednesday, April 1, 2015


"For you can't hang a man for killing a woman
who's trying to steal your horse."

--- "The Red Headed Stranger," by Willie Nelson

A red headed stranger.
The man on the cross.
Sunday School verses.
Steel guitar psalms.
Solomon's temple
with all David's wrongs.
Sawdust and sacrament.

The meek shall inherit
a wild share of sorrow.
Then rise up to heaven
day after tomorrow.
You can kill who needs killin',
but don't beg or borrow.
Ballad and testament.

I learned to pray to the Father
and sing the devil to sleep.
Tell my tale to the hangman
till I make that man weep.
Preachers and whores
are two sides of one need.
Lyric and lament.

Paramnesia - a distortion of memory in which fact and fantasy are confused.

At Real Toads, Magaly prompted us to write about the first poem, poet, or written work that sparked our poetry.  I've written about the strange intersection between my two earliest influences - the King James Bible and the outlaw country music of the 1970s.


Sylvia K said...

Ah, you never cease to amaze me!! Thank you!! Hope your week is going well!!

Kerry O'Connor said...

In my opinion the King James version is the best for poetic language. Though I say this from the other side of the world, there has always been something Old Testament about the Wild West, and its more recent incarnations through music and poetry.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Such inspiration. Such imagery. You're too good for the likes of me to read, yet I do. Thanks.

Buddah Moskowitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gillena Cox said...

i learned a new word- the title of your poem and this quite an interesting write

have a happy holy week

much love...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"The meek shall inherit a wild share of sorrow." Aint that the truth. I love the voice in this, which is a wonderful cross-section of those early influences.

Fireblossom said...

I like the "day after tomorrow" thing, but it's the last stanza that really rocks.

Ella said...

Bravo, Mama Zen! You never fail to dazzle the hell out of me~

Anonymous said...

I must echo Sherry. This line jumped right out at me...
"The meek shall inherit a wild share of sorrow." Aint that the truth.

What a combination!

Hannah said...

Absolutely nailed it, Mama Zen!! I love the 'two sides of one need' portion...true story!

Shawna said...

"Preachers and whores
are two sides of one need.
Lyric and lament."

I love that!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I LOVE this combination, and can totally feel why poetry had to come out it. Wonderful.

Kenia Cris said...

What would it be of us if we didn't have such dualities in life? You're an amazing writer, but you know that already, don't you?

Kiss. :)

Other Mary said...

Wow, you said it. That last stanza is especially strong.

Gail said...

Fannnnntastic! You never disappoint and sometimes even surprise me. Great piece!

Outlawyer said...

This is really itself a song--great rhyme and rhythm (and blues of a sort.) Thanks, MZ. (I also liked Willie a lot, getting to see him several times--always a good show.) k. Manicddaily

Susie Clevenger said...

King James and Willie..quite a pair. Yes, I believe Willie should sing your poem. :)

grapeling said...

you always surprise me, even though I know how amazing a poet you are ~

Marian said...

Love this. Do you get the word-of-the-day? Paramnesia!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Nice! It's all grist to our mills.