Cactus in a Bassinent

Matt Parks

A cactus in a bassinet  

And raisins in the wind  

Someone, tell the other siders  

There is nothing here for them 

 

May I dictate for the very last time 

A tale in size and scale  

When a jester from the west or somewhere yonder learned to fail  

 

He wasn’t just a joker see he knew a trick or two  

For if he tuned pianos, every woman she would swoon  

 

Soon he took to houses where he heard their chords at night  

And waited until morning when the husbands left to fight  

 

While the gentlemen soldiers moved up north and fought on the front lines 

The jester he would swoop in, and he’d ruin all their lives  

 

It wasn’t just the notes he sang that brought these women to their knees 

He had the diction of canaries and the whispers of a breeze  

 

Before he had his filthy way or tickled any keys 

He sang his wicked manifesto, within the key of G  

 

You’ve never told a joke to me, yet all you women laugh  

But now the jester’s wrecking homes, and he’ll be laughing last  

 

And though they scream and cast him out 

They can’t hold him off long 

Because he plays the junk piano, and he starts into a song 

 

A cactus in a bassinet  

And raisins in the wind  

Someone, tell the other siders  

There is nothing here for them 

 

Though seriously serially he made his way through town  

A slinger with no gun who brings plantations to the ground. 

  

JW dropped his grey cap and it sunk deep in the mud 

The horse he took was splattered by JW’s first blood  

He washed his hands by fire light, though red stains don’t come out 

Especially the crimson of your comrade downed with gout  

 

JW rode back to town aback his crimson steed  

The beast chewed at its bit, as there was nothing left to feed  

 

The Coward let the hour set and the beast could stand no more  

So, JW left her soul behind with carnage and the war 

 

He came upon his home and heard the music in the air  

His daughter’s no pianist, but she’s all that he left there 

 

The plantation’s land was yellow, the air thick with all misdeeds  

JW the Coward heard the voice that sings in G 

 

You’ve never told a joke to me, yet all you women laugh  

But now the jester’s wrecking homes, and he’ll be laughing last  

 

And though you scream and cast me out 

You can’t hold me off for long 

Because I play the junk piano, now let me start into my song  

 

A cactus in a bassinet  

And raisins in the wind  

Someone, tell the other siders  

There is nothing here for them  

 

JW kicked the wooden door and saw his daughter bound  

He lifted up his rifle, and gunned the jester to the ground  

 

She cried and she attacked him, “Daddy he’s the man I loved.” 

JW the Coward once more head to toe in blood  

 

The jester smiled posthumously; one last home he’d wrecked for fun 

The daughter scrubbed JW’s hands when she found the Coward hung. 

Spring 2022