j o h n n y c a s h o d e
L E I G H E D W A R D S
Rebel outlaw hillbilly thug,
This is how you haunt us.
Your Highwaymen Mt. Rushmore face,
fierce big-bodied voice,
deep sonic tonic,
Molotov cocktail of broken-jaw pain and dexedrine tales.
You were a barefoot New Deal Arkansas farmboy
watching hobo fathers jump the train
and tumble off at your doorstep.
Billy Graham's badass,
gospelizer patriarch, curled around the Bible,
your head rammed with pill dreams, bandaging your wound.
a self-carved wooden Indian,
tunneling for folk culture's bleeding heart.
filming pilgrims, prisoners, junkies, and johnny guns
through your rusty cage voice.
Country music's conscience,
slamming Nashville's bad dye job,
as Viper Room rockers sweated to you.
Lincoln's drunk grandson,
jamming his paper cash in your guitar strings
to help scratch out your riff.
Raucous witness, like Whitman
to the high lonesome sound of a big country's history,
putting us all into ballads,
embalming our dreams.
If one's life gets told, then it meant something.
We wish we could do that,
carve ourselves into sound stones
to be dug up from the ground, rubbed smooth.
You keep startling us awake
with your percussion voice,
its hurt drum consciousness,
the cut of singing death and life.
Man in Black, you are your own undertaker.
Drive on, Million Dollar Quartet hearse.