True Country Music

James Capozzi

we live like Okies
nothing changes
nothing that matters nohow
money ran this country
and runs it now
and will run it tomorrow too
the poor get chump change
cause money don’t care never will
you want to set this place straight
soak the rich
the church
corporations ...
so I go on and on
fast and faster
after mass every Sunday
at the table for breakfast
(red eye gravy, sop and taters)
all Thanksgiving during dinner
unable to stop
Jesus already shut up
give it a rest
must you be such a shit about it ...
says the big brass eye
from its hutch
precisely, as always
no charm, no harmonies
arise from that music
I’ll give you that
but if you take it away we all die
this country’s a movie
the reason we live
called Second Time as Farce
or Every Gun Has Its Reasons
field recordings see us
into yet another act
derelicted, desperate for jobs
as guards in some private prison
it’s a match made in heaven
I hear the inmates
holler for an hour after lockdown
I use the word heaven loosely
I read USA Today daily
it’s all there
the news as poison I eat every morning
mouth foaming, 8 AM
always reaching back
to pull my gitar up on the couch
to run through farmer’s corner
first position
permanence being music’s sacred illusion
everyone eats dirt
but goes to his home in the sky
lord, in the sky ...
so swears the bronze eye
but don’t trust it
this country goes no place
stomping in circles
fast and faster
deranged by Congress
by the Kentucky senator
whose flaccid face
consolidates my hatreds
pile of dough
no lips, just a slit
through which laws are wetly excreted
the country seethes, its laws are smug
the laws are not right on time
are locked up by a kind
of postmodern spite run amok
you dance to it handcuffed
unable to stop
the footstep infectious
accidents of birth set us
into what country
the fiddler chops, the fiddler saws
rabid laws moving on the land
you don’t have to know nothing
or can
huddle up to yr pardner
call out the changes
the frailing hollering ones in which
mine likeness stomps its way
(pained look, hair like straw)
but safe and mostly free
of ticks
got a new hair cut, two twenties and a ten
got the pet of my harangue
and Same Old Song
still on the couch
unable to stop
hollering about goddamn Bush
2008 was a million years ago
yet I’m still on my run
little rabbit run, run
yonder come the man with a big shotgun ...
aiming for our necks
our crick of the woods
the true country people
bitten by ticks
knock out a tune with their boots
possessed of fire and beauty
but forced to drown
in a constipated brain dead hell
routes all caved in
Cumberland Gap
Swannanoa Tunnel
land of my meemaw and peepaw
who didn’t want my ma and pa
to marry at first
who didn’t speak for years
in an old-time feud
everyone got over in time
except for meemaw and peepaw
who we buried alive
in side by side plots
and that’s the problem with this country
no choices
or the wrong kind