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Marie Echols

Drivin' and Cryin'

But that’s life, isn’t it? One year  

your days are spent driving  

alone, collecting old songs like lightning  

bugs in a jar ‘cause they give you something  

to hold onto, and you need something  

to hold onto since you don’t have  

someone. And you must be stuck on the wrong  

station, ‘cause life’s been more like a Hank song  

than the harmonies of Johnny and June,  

but that doesn’t stop you from wondering what that ring  

of fire feels like. So you blare them out the windows  

thinking that’ll do the trick, hurricane of hair held down  

by a ball cap while those Wayfarers hide your eyes  

‘cause you’re crying again. You were always crying  

those days ‘cause Guy Clark once had the nerve  

to say he had a tattoo with her name  

right through his soul, and now “I love you”  

were the only cuss words the world was afraid to say.  


But the times they are a-changin’, and if you could  

just go back and tell yourself what’s right  

up the road, those days would’ve had a different tune.  

You wouldn’t have hurt so much,  

wouldn’t have questioned so much,  

wouldn’t have burned so much  

gas, ‘cause you’d know before too long, he’d be ruining  

all those old songs with that harmony that can’t help  

but make you think, Lord, they’ll never sound as good  

after him. But there is no after  

anymore, ‘cause this love thing isn’t just three minutes, three  

chords and the truth, turn the station off when you pull on in  

the drive. It’s everything changing except for the crying,  

‘cause you’re so happy you can’t help but cry for the girl  

that thought her life would be a Hank song until she died. 

Spring 2021

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