Sometimes the man's more than I can take,
Sometimes a little less.
All those damn fine stories he tells
in that voice of his
all scalded from rivers of chains
of Chesterfield cigarettes,
soothed with quarts of red Crown and dry sherry.
I like to believe this is how it'd be,
him and meand an unsealed deck of Bikes.
Cut-throat spades or,
a serious duel in cribbage
counting fast, slappin' wood,
spinnin' round and round and stoppin'
in a tidy heap.
Then pegging out
with a shout,
the prize another round of shots
to dowse his flames
and oh hell yeah mine, too.
Or even stoke 'em hotter.
Then he'd likely whip out his comb,
held at an oddly oblique angle,
neaten up his duck
Then ask me unabashedly "hey, darlin', what's good around here to eat?".
all sweet and wicked.
What's not to love about a man like Tom Waits?
He came on back home after his lungs got gripped
By a poison that couldn't be shook
Bad dope, wrongful lovin' striking him over and out
Like he always struck out over and again
To ply a rare gift, ones always heaped too hard
upon the souls of the hurt and the driven
Still too damn pretty for his own damn good,
Too sweet, become too frailed to linger
Too long in regular realms of normality
But man oh gawddamn, he never lost his rhythm
His annularius clad in a chromed tube
Even til the end he still slid that National steel
When the brass dobro got too heavy to heft
As his finish drew nearer and his energy left
Yet there was a time he could play them all
Anything strung, even when his last E broke
Like a Segovian god he could fret and strum
With his left hand while gazing inward
Maybe catching his wind
or making his own devilish plan
To leave another joint burnt slam down
Or angling to send us all hot and wet
straight to church
in a voice warbled rich
in the key of his truth
Another slinger called to fly the same route
one his own chosen heroes had flown
who know they can't outrun
the hellhound come snappin'
but bait that bitch any way,
tendering naked Achilles all a'quiver
never tricked by fickle destiny
small regard for the certainties of fate
unimpressed by mournful sentiment.
This is how our brother friend went,
as he spent his last breath,
just as he'd lived.
On his own terms.