Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Payday Friday

Payday Friday

We left the bar to drive
to the nearest motel
like two kids ditchin school,
me and Hollywood, in his raybans at night.

It was Friday night, payday Friday.
All night he’d held my hand
across the table, laughed in my eyes,
pulled me close slowdancin George Jones,

bought me half a paycheck‘s worth of
butterscotch liquored chick drinks
basted me head to toe for hours in that
hot brown look, til I was more than willin.

All day out with the crew I’d thought of him,
eight hours of idle mind  on the brushhog:
chocolate eyes, lilt to the voice, laugh of a free man,
dark hair thick as moss, coyote smart.

He thought, I’m sure, of my breasts,
my long yellow corn floss hair, maybe
my hands, maybe my soul that knew
where he wanted it to go, without saying.

The bar was hot and rockin. All the guys from work
were there, all my crew and his, kicked back, all the ones
who’d warned me about him just shakin their heads,
smiles in their beers while we danced.

We never even turned on the light
in the motel room—there just
wasn’t  time, only time for wellspring kisses
smoky whispers  “Do you

love it?” barely time for the old soul story 
we told each other, substance over shadow 
in the big bed, smooth as the necklace of pearls
he strung for me

never put in pawn,
here in my jewelbox still.
Me and Hollywood.
I hope his wife treats him good.

July 2011 

A 3:00 a.m. runaway poem probably best at 3:00 a.m, with a nod to Coal Black for the dropped  g's, and the general proletarian ambience, and to Mama Zen for the chocolate. 

A brushhog is a tractor pulling a large mower deck, capable of rough mowing right of ways and brushy fields. Fun to drive. Hot loud and dirty, but fun.

Optional Musical Accompaniment:

and in case you're in the mood for the funkier original, Lowell George & Little Feat, singing the song that got him fired from the Mothers of Invention:

Header Image: courtesy google image search
no credits available


  1. I thought there was a Coalblack twang to this, but the narrative and its spell is pure Hedgewitch, sure-handed and magical no matter how distant or close the subject matter or intimacy. (This is breathlessly close, a HW record.) You pay this salt-of-the=earth this lusty co-worker fine homage, celebrating the best of his fleeting moment, sending on all he had to his future with your blessing. Sometimes the past has no need to curse or exorcism. Fine work, and cheaper than whiskey, down from a heart-shaped shot-glass. - Brendan

  2. Yes I loved it! What a memory, a story, a tale, "no time to turn on the lights." Grasping for life, living it to the fullest!

  3. haha...obviously not good enough...

    fine bit of story telling my friend...i understand all that idle time though and the things that might go through ones mind...

  4. He has a wife? Not you? Bet her memories will never stand comparison with your perceptiveness. Still, on the evidence here I've got to envy his encounter with you. Lucky guy! Brilliant poem as usual.
    Kind regards, James.

  5. I love it, you totally nailed it. I heard that echo of Coal Black in the twang. You put me right there, I could see the whole thing:) Payday Friday! and those eyes!

  6. Thanks all. I don't often write this stuff, but sometimes it's just there--maybe it's the heat.

    @Ruth: Well I don't know about that, but at least I had it for awhile. ;_)

    @James: Neither of us was married at the time. But thanks for that compliment.

    @B:Yeah, a place I don't often go, but after that extremely structured, rather somber voyage through past 'teachable moments' in the Candle piece, my past got rowdy and insisted I tell a bit of the other side of the story. Thanks for reading and for turning the empty shot glass over on the cigarette-scarred formica table with me.

    @Sherry: Thanks and glad you enjoyed--I just realized I picked up on the chocolate from Mama Zen, so I've linked her excellent poem where she used it first.

  7. I just love this! You have totally captured those bars, those Payday Fridays. Hell, Hedge, I wonder if we've ever met?

    And, I can't help but snicker about explaining a brushhog!

  8. @MZ I'm sure we've met there in spirit--I doubt they've changed much from my time to yours--glad you dug it, and afa the brushhog definition--that was for yankees and other foreigners. I think those crazy people in Florida call it a bushhog. No couth. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  9. I grew up knowin' these people and that girl the next day had me on the phone. Oh yeah, I heard the stories, the heartbreak, the worry over a planted bun in the oven, the relief in two weeks when it didn't and then there was the next bad boy who walked into her life. And I sat by the phone and wondered why it never rang, writing in my notebooks and soaking up novels. Never thought to write down their stories at the time.
    Glad you did. Pretty much aced it here dear HW.

  10. I had to turn off the Ronstadt...she used to have five songs, including this one, on every juke box in every bar and tavern I used to drink in, and between the song and the marvelously evocative smokey luv poem, it put me back there a little bit TOO much.

    So I switched to Little Feat (who I saw in concert once, when "Dixie Chicken" was current) and I'm telling you, the re-read was as smooth as those lines that sound so good and true when the light and the moment are just right. It isn't easy to capture this. Really good stuff, my friend.

  11. it's not me, but it's not bad.


  12. Thanks, FB--and I bet you already knew what a brushhog was, too, despite your northern antecedents. Apologies to you and B. for dragging you on a bar crawl. As you say it's a moment, but one that's best savored from the distance of time and age, for me as well.

    @coal: There's only one you, dear. But you do get into people's heads.

  13. Masterful writing :) I really enjoyed this - you got into her head so vividly

  14. I love this...I didn't even need the music for your writing rhythm had me singing within the first stanza. (now I'm playing Little Feat while I type this, smiling large; I thank ya).

    "smiles in their beers' love that...and the last stanza just sings, reminding me of the days when we let 'em go not knowing that some day we will wonder. I've been craving a dive bar, pool cue and a smoke... you've not helped matters...darn hot, humid nights ~

  15. ha, too many truths in this story for many people...sad but true. nice blue collar tale.

  16. the tone and voice of this really do take you there, to some smoke-filled bar or cheap motel on a sticky summer night. and i love the phrase "old soul story / we told each other..."--what a great way to describe, ah, the night's climax... A genuinely told story, indeed. Brava.

  17. new fav by you..this was just amazing story telling - i could see every tiny detail and - more important - i could feel it and smell it...awesome hedge

  18. ah, those were the days.

    Why did we become 'respectable'? Or is it just that I got old?

    I love this poem, it's just right. And not only at 3 am.

  19. Enjoyed this a lot - superb write, my friend. =)

  20. Many thanks to all who've stopped by--I'm glad this memory piece said something to so many of you. Greatly appreciate it.

    @yhc: Glad you enjoyed the music--to me it really went with this night. And thanks for reading.

    @Steve--Thanks,glad you made it by.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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