Barroom Bards

Nels Andrews


I had some of my greatest 'coming of age' times in the  little mountain town of Taos, New Mexico. I was reading DH Lawerence's biography, about his years in exile there, and wondered what it would be like to move back. (thus 'sons and lovers'). On a visit. I was driving back towards Espanola, somewhere near my old house in Pilar, when I thought i should pull over and strum my guitar a bit... This came out nearly formed. I'd been listening to a bunch of Son Jorocho music where they this call and response thing alot.


oh sweet william is it true you’d sung?
rhyming couplets in foreign tongues?
and drank dry the fortunes of banker’s sons
in the el farol bar

“i skipped songs on the river there
I grew long, then cut off my hair
found that love wasn’t really fair,
and real beauty is wild”

a poet in exile and gentleman’s crest?
unsung, un-knighted, and un-repressed?
how you charmed your muse to the little death,
and a helium sigh

“i let her play actress, i let her play queen
strangers could really be anything
when borders make amber of the warmest dreams
and the prettiest scars”

sons and lovers send letters home?
ships in bottles from messages grown?
how the wind shed the skin of that boy you’d known,
and annealed a new man

“i poached sheep with a bowie knife
wrecked el camino’s and socialites,
jumped blind at the fence, thinking sure i’d find
we’ll all land somewhere in time”

barroom bards and river stones don’t shine so bright, when you get them home

come greet the dawn then with me and mine,
who sing of dead kings and compromise
poor sweet william, all full of wine
on your kitchen floor

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