Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Two poems/songs by Norman Ball

Two poems/songs
by Norman Ball

Editor's note: The following are the poetry/lyrics to two songs written and sung by contributor Norman Ball. The You Tube video links are included in the titles.

Spill my Wine (Fallujah)

We are tired of staring
at our brothers on the ground.
Keep the music blaring.
Our salvation is the sound.

I am emptied, Father.
Stripped of armor -- short of time.
There are waiting others
hungry for the savage sign.
Seal Fallujah's borders
tease the serpents from the crowd.
Raise our sacred heroes
Let the verses scream out loud.


We gazed down from colossal turrets
onto the gates of the ancient city,
our tanks idling restless on the timeless drift.
Whole armies lay entombed beneath the sands
where we now plotted our advance.
On the eve of battle, many struggled with strange visions.
In an effort to break the tension, someone began reciting a prayer
before the tank commander ordered him to stop.
Like trace-fire, the man's amen trailed off
into the bowels of the dark machine....

I can feel your shadows
cast their spells across my mind.
Chills me to the marrow
Stain my garden, spill my wine
Spill my wine, spill my wine
spill my wine, spill my wine.
spill my wine, spill my wine.


Cash Me Out

Well he didn't have a fancy trill
like lead singers of today.
His soul just trembled in his throat
and his gut would lead the way.
His songs were drenched in sorrow
like an Appalachian rain,
full of hardluck times and tell-tale signs
that tomorrow held more pain.


Cash me out today, we've lost ole Johnny.
He's up and joined his precious angel June.
If its darkest just before the light, don't it figure
that the man-in-black could light the darkest room?

While others tried to push their luck
with the same ole' borrowed style,
well he pushed himself from hell to hymn
like a man on borrowed time.
His voice had business with your soul
in an eerie sort of way,
not singing in the normal sense
--more like God-come-down-to-play.


If prison is a holding cell
for interrupted dreams,
John woke 'em up one Folsom night
to the sound of tracks and steam.
Well I've heard that train come round the bend
a million times or more.
It built a station in my heart
where a bar-stool was before.

His Sunday mornings sobered up
when John came down to the Lord.
No better pilgrim walked this land
nor preached a truer word.
But he never laid it on too thick.
He respected us too much.
He just preached his heart and dropped the stick,
an' he kept his common touch



No ring of fire could ring him in.
No straight line broke his stride
No hammer beat him down for good
No name could steal his pride

The line he walked well that was our line too,
though at times we couldn't see.
'Cause it takes a man to blaze a trail
and set his brothers free.


Author bio:

Norman Ball is a Virginia-based writer and musician whose writing has appeared in Liberty, Clamor, Hazmat, Identity Theory, Noo Journal, Epicenter and others.

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