By the Seat of a Country Song

One Friday night in Tucson
I told you to fetch your
Toothbrush and some cash,
We’d never been to Texas.

We drove through an
Inky, moon-dipped sky
Flanked by saddled mountains and a
Posse of saguaros saluting battle.

Interstate 10, due east,
Rolled tar in a straight shot,
The wind stinging our cheeks,
Musky scent of desert sage and coffee.

Humming songs on the radio,
Crunching wrappers underfoot,
Your toes and hands out the window,
My fingers thumping on the wheel.

At the border of New Mexico
Johnny Cash sang about doing
Time in Folsom Prison,
But that ain’t ever happen.

Hank Williams Jr sang about
Spitting beech-nut in some dude’s eye
And shooting him with his o’l .45,
Though he never did.

We told stories about how we’d hit Houston,
Take in a rodeo, hoot at cowboys in pickups,
Kick aside those buckle bunnies in their
Slick Wranglers and Justin ropers.

In between bites of truck stop jerky,
Pulling off dirt roads to piss behind palo verdes,
We hit El Paso at sunrise
Wearing wind and fire, ate at a diner

Asking how long to Houston, hanging our heads
With the answer, paid with coins and cash,
Took in the Rio Grande and turned around
Singing about how nothing lasts.

Though we didn’t believe it.

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24 thoughts on “By the Seat of a Country Song

      1. That’s awesome! I’ve always been a bit of a rock snob myself. This poem reminded me of a ‘family documentary we did of a road trip to Vegas…headbanging all the way!

    1. We had a rap off one time. Remember? Okay, now for country . . . Just kidding. Coe has a lot of outlaw songs, but this one is Hank’s, Country Boy Can Survive. Now I’ll have it stuck in my head all night! 😉

      1. Of course! My sly reference to hip hop was really just a sly reference to the infamous rap battle. Just don’t ask me, Walt why do you drink? Walt, why do roll smoke?
        Why must you live out the songs that you wrote?

  1. Well shoot, you turned around? I felt like I was on a road trip with you, riding with the windows down. I have been thinking about a short story that has all the characteristic stereotypes thrown in. It is entirely possible here to encounter pickup trucks blasting Wiz Khalifa instead of Johnny Cash. Talk about a juxtaposition. My advice is to head to Austin rather than Houston and maybe San Antonio for the Alamo. Great imagery, now I want to go on a road trip 🙂

    1. This is what happens when you’re a 19-year-old college student, like I was at the time, and you don’t think things through, like how you had class on Monday, didn’t have enough money, or that Houston is about 10 hours away from El Paso! (This may have been before the Internet… 😉 )

      I know what you mean about pickups blasting Wiz Khalifa. My brother is a cowboy and he doesn’t listen to new country. We’re a confusing family now that I think about it! Just goes to show you about stereotypes! So I’m adding Austin to my list. Thanks!

  2. I just re-read this one, I love the road trip feeling of it, and of course, through my newly found, part of the world! Great soundtrack now they just need to make the movie!

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