From the album Miracles and Light
The train used to come to my little town and then one day
it never came back.
They left all the signs and my memories and they
left all the tracks….
He sings like Ray Charles every afternoon
at the Southern burger stand
He beams dignity and certitude
like a rich man rarely can.
“Way back, my folks were slaves.
Somehow we got a piece of land.
Guess we don’t miss those days
Those colored men were born to sorrow---“
She owns her house and her S-U-V.
But her son, he likes his meth,
and, gosh, he’s missing all his teeth.
She cries, “It’s hard times.
I raised him well. Oh, hell. What went wrong?
Oh, can you tell me?
You’ve got degrees; you seem get along.”
Should I confess to her my fortune bears the sting of decency?
Been living dime to dime for so goddamned long and it's
getting old, you see.
One more tale from home town and I’ll let you go your way.
You’re out of time and I’m out of good coffee.
He built his fortune on the backs of all the poor.
Then he wrote contracts they could not read,
and returned to steal some more.
It’s now the end of his life.
The nurse won’t come,
the Church won’t even call.
His son just left and said,
“I’ll give and sign away it all
to every cause you ever hated,
and to every charity.
I’ll do it in your name but don’t be counting on that fame in your odd eternity.”
Sometimes grace comes to town
sometimes grace is late
I never judge
and I never ask questions.