Somewhere North of Bangor

by John Fitzsimmons | Fires in the Belly

Somewhere north of Bangor
on the run from Tennessee.
Lost in back scrub paper land
in section TR-3.
It’s hit him he’s an outlaw
a Georgia cracker’s son,
who killed a man in Nashville
with his daddies favorite gun.
It’s hit him with the loneliness
of wondering where you are
on a long ago railway
stretched between two stars.

Two weeks shy of nineteen
in 1992
she got tickets with her girlfriends
for that new band coming through.
She got tickets for the show ,
she said—”go on and have a night on town.
I’ll meet you in the morning at
Frannie’s Coffee Ground;”
but she met a backstage roady
from that traveling country band,
and now it’s hard to slow the pain that grows
inside a hurtin’ man.
I took one of Joe’s old Rugers
and the law into my hand.

I borrowed Lance’s Mustang
and a Mobil credit card.
I drove every pot-holed backroad
they’ve got in Arkansas.
By now there was an all points
on a Georgia crackers son
who left on Sunday morning
with his daddies favorite gun.
I heard the church bells ringing, pleading,
pulling on my soul.
I almost turned back—I couldn’t bear to go.
Twenty years of praying
and doing what I was told.

They played three shows in Nashville
and Johnson City for a night.
Two air-brushed old greyhounds
under marquee neon lights.
I followed them to every show
until I found the man
with a tattoo of Geronimo
on the back of his right hand.
I asked him about a gal he met
at Saturday night’s show;
she says that you get kind of rough
and don’t understand no.
I thought that I’d find out myself
just if that be so.

I heard you like to think
you lead your life out on the edge.
You say the way we live our lives
we may as well be dead.
But now that you believe
that you’re the God of your own land
you’ve got to walk a higher road
than any other man.
You’ve got to toe a higher line
and somehow make it real;
you’ve got to learn in disregard
to think hard as you feel.
He pulled his knife,
I took his life—
you’ve got to pay for what you steal.

Now I’m somewhere north of Bangor
on the run from Tennessee.
Lost in back-scrub paper land
in section TR-3.
No more an outlaw
than a Georgia crackers son
you will not play the renegade
trapped or on the run;
and you love the strange wild loneliness
of knowing who you are—you love
the way the patterns lay
stretched between the stars;
you know that when they find you
they won’t know who you are.

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