Friday, October 30, 2009


Warren Zevon and Townes Van Zandt Get Drunk in Heaven

This is where you can kick the dead dog
until it snarls itself awake,
licks its nuts, and then
heads to the creek
where the boys will be fishing
until the almost dark.
is where the whiskey's free
and the women are easy
company. The only hangover
is a canopy of tree limb
that shields you graciously
from God's wild and lonely eye.

Every day is your best lyric.
Townes sings,
If I had a nickel
I'd find a game
If I won a dollar
I'd make it rain
And if it rained an ocean
I'd drink it dry
And lay me down dissatisfied.
Life'll kill ya,
Warren says. Warren says,
I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Except here he is, and Townes too, not
like coyotes stiff in the back of
a pick-up headed for a Lubbock taxidermist
but trading shots, never worrying about
the sober life or repercussions,
the cancers, the heart attacks.
And though the sun
will eventually position itself
exact and low in the sky,
it never sets. Instead

the sun will scuff along the horizon
like the toe of a cowboy boot
or the last piece of ice in
two fingers of bourbon
or the truth in a song
and the stories the song becomes.

So the bottle's never empty,
the glass is never full,
and the songwriters sip at their days,
Townes Van Zandt saying to Warren Zevon,
"Man, this crazy guitar of mine, up here,
she ain't ever out o' tune."
The rhymes,
like the whiskey, offer themselves
graciously, asking only
for a couple of chords, a breath,
a hillside, a bit of faith.

-John Reinhard

1 comment:

  1. A John Reinhard poem about Townes Van Zant—what a fine thing to stumble upon! Thanks for posting it.