Travels tracks



March. 1945

Unwanted from his first breath.
A mother's blessing born,
A father's burden worn.
The bright shine of the sunrise
Along the tile floor to the open door.

With blood on the sheets she lay on the mattress.
Staring aimlessly.
Numb, dark and decayed
On the bathroom floor
Of their rundown apartment.
Scraping fingers on tile
Just to feel something.
Unwanted by a bastard father.
But through the hazel eyes of his mother.
She's praying for god to save her.
"Please save me, please save me"
But when she needs him most,
He doesn't answer.
Another rosary, another unanswered plea.
"Please take us away, please let us be safe.
Let everyone that sees me forget my face."
But all she gets is the drunk
With his fists and that old devil look in his eye.
Him and Jack,
That gambling debt,
That old devil look in his eye.
And without warning
He raises his hand to her
And without warning
He raises his hand to her and says,
"Your god can't hear you, not down here."
Please save me, please save me
"No one will save you because no one cares."
Another rosary,
Another unanswered plea.
"Please take us away, please let us be safe.
Let everyone that sees me forget my face."
And with her newborn boy,
They would cry until the early morning light.
It was the first of many, many sleepless nights.


Roll on through to the other side of town.
Passed the quarry, the river beds,
Over bridges and bunker sheds.
Roll on through to the pits and the rail car yard.
"This is where you prove your worth."
A brother's dare, that devil's smirk.
"Oh, this is the way it will always be."
A kid brother in the shadows of a cold heart's legacy.
"Oh, this is where we see who runs first.
It's you and me and the train.
The steel tracks and the dirt.
Oh, you can never live up to me."
And so he stood trembling,
Waiting for smoke above the trees.
Roll on through. he could hear it rumbling,
He could feel it beneath his feet.
Roll on through.
"Closer now, hold your ground.
Steadfast, ignore the sound."
Everything went quiet
Just before the rush took over his head.
With the pull and the push of the engine,
Think back with the coal and the steam.
The racing thoughts, the questions,
The adolescent rivalry.
And with a nod from the elder,
The younger's fear topples over.
Over rails and over timber.
"That's no dodge, you fucking coward."
And the train rolls on.
And the train rolls on
"Yellow-belly go home."
And the train rolls on.


As a kid the summers seemed so long.
The dusk a never ending song.
Too much, too young.
He'd never hear it again.
A walk through the dismal streets,
The alleys where the junkies sleep.
Too much, too young.
"That will never be me."
Slow, hand in hand to the boardwalk's end.
His mother's words like the biting wind.
"Please don't leave me."
He'll never hear them again.
"Keep quiet, stay out of sight."
Her sunken eyes that used to burn so bright.
"Please don't leave me."
Please don't leave me.
So he hid pressed against the wall,
Under stairs in the darkened hall.
The sound of heartbreak reminded him of home.
Shadows move slow across the floor,
A minute seemed like a day or more.
The end of heartache when she opened the door.
The sights, sounds,
Smell of burnt out shame, pride, spite, love.
They all come here to die.
He sobs, "Please take me away.
Please mother bring us home safe
On nameless streets the way we came."
And suddenly she prayed for better days
And for redemption.
Sullenly she prayed to keep from harm's way and for conviction.
But there's no forgiveness here.
No hope beyond that pier.
No way to get out now,
Not for her in this dead end town.
And that drunk is waiting up,
Him and jack, the empty cup.
"Where you been?
What you on?
Who'd you fuck?"
One more drink to toast "good luck".
She gets a stiff hand from the old man
Like the bourbon he's been drinking.
Black out.
And she gets a stiff hand from the old man
Like the bourbon he's been drinking.
Black out

The summers seemed so long.
The dusk a never ending song.
Too much, too young.
He'd never sleep again
Too much, too young.
"That will never be me."


January, 1962

He awoke in a cold sweat
To those old sounds of heartbreak.
His brother at his side screaming
"This isn't your fight".
But that rush took over his head
And he came to his mother's side.
And he found himself alone with that devil rambling.
"Oh, well the money's all gone
And she can't pay the rent with that needle in her arm."
He clenched his fists.
"What did she ever do to you,
But raise us by herself
When you were too drunk to come through?"
He took a swing.
"That's some nerve you got kid."
"Yeah well they'll put that on your tombstone
As the last thing that you said.
I never wanted to kill a man,
Like I want to kill you, man."
The years of pain boiled over,
Trading blows across the counter.
And when that devil was down
He grabbed for his empty old friend Jack.
He caught his eye as he took his last breath
And that vice went to his head again and again
And again and again and again and again
"Dear god what have you done?" cried out his mother.
"That devil drunk was no father.
Another name on a list
For unpaid bookies and gambling debts."
that spiteful stare of his brother.
"I ain't no forgiver forgetter.
I'll make you pay for this, when you least expect it."
He washed the blood from his hands,
Kissed his mother and stepped into cold night air.


Rain fell hard
Chalk it up to a failure.
Push through the cold weather.
Racing heart,
Slow the beat,
Push through the defeat.
No one knows,
Just push through the deadbeats,
Junkies, liars and cutthroats.
The same walk, the same pier.
No one's going to remember him here.
"Just walk until you reach those long steel tracks."
That old familiar sting, the memories of rivalry.
Years passed and it's still here.
The same dirt, same rails, same fear.
And all the years of giving in rushed through his head again.
With no loss to match his gain,
He rolled on to hop that train.
Rain fell hard.
Chalk the miles from his failure.
Trees sway with the weather.
Racing heart, skips a beat.
Every crossed town line is relief.
With no money and no name,
State lines, borders rivers are all the same.
The city by dawn, a stranger with no history comes.
"Just rest your head where the sun sets.
Fade out at sun down.
Fade out at sun down.
Well fade out."


He walks the streets collar up to the snowfall.
Holes in pockets and knees.
Sleeps in bar rooms and horse stalls.
But you can't stay too long in one place.
"Move along kid, we don't like your face."
Mother's hold children close out of fear.
Father's curse under breath as they sneer.
And he walks the streets, years pass by with the snowfall.
Time is wasted in drink,
Days begging and lost souls.
Holds no merit in vagrants in boxcars.
Down in hell you best know who your friends are.
"Not so proud scrounging for your next meal.
No alibis sold when with devils you deal.
How does it feel, how does it feel to be all alone with no direction?
Home's never home,
It's just the place where you came from.
Home's never home,
It's just the place where you came from.
Home's never home,
It's just the place where you came from.
Home's never home,
Writ on walls of the church and the hostels.
"Home is never home," said by martyrs and lost souls.
"Home is never home," said the prophet in plain clothes
As he strummed his guitar. and he screamed, and he sang.

"We'll I've been tired
Cause' I don't sleep so well on trains
Well I got ups and downs
But days are all the same
I've been low
But it never gets me down

Well i've been thrown out
I've been let down
I've been chased
Well i've hardships
I've been stripped of pride and name
I've been low
But it never gets me down

And nights spent drinking
All the worry from my head
And days spent wandering
Wishing I was dead
If I could only muster
The words out from my mouth
I would sing
Oh I would sing
I'll take the next train out

Cause I've been hopin'
I've been praying theres some god
So when I die
I'm found and saved
And I'm not lost
Cause all he's done
All for me is take away the ones I love

And nights spent drinking
All the worry from my head
And days spent wandering
Wishing I was dead
If I could only muster
The words out from my mouth
I would sing
Oh I would sing
I'll take the next train out

I'm gonna take it"


That soap box song
Stuck in his head.
Burdens lie in graves past by.
He carries his weight.
That anthem for the disenchanted
Rings loud in waves of grain.
Heavy hearted hymns
Heard in slums fade out on those country roads.
Hope burning in his lungs.
Days pass, weeks pass.
Sleeping under sky.
Days pass, weeks pass.
Days turn into nights.
Sleep sound, the sun's out.
Sleep long, sleep well.
Days pass, weeks pass.
Memories come flooding back,
He prays his mother's god
Has saved her soul.
That soap box song still in his head.
Miles lost to heat and rain.
He carries his weight.
That message for the misdirected
Rings true to this day.
Heavy hearted hymns sung in fields.
He stops along that country road
To listen as they sing.
"Swing low, swing low chariot for me.
Swing low, swing low. pray my soul to keep."
"Rest now, the sun's down. rest long, rest well."
"Swing low, swing low."
Redemption lies in an old farm house,
"Room and board for the strong hands we need.
All I can offer, roof over head.
Another day, another dollar.
All I can offer, roof over head.
Another day, another dollar.
Another day, another dollar."


"If you're always running,
You ain't no kind of man.
Face up your fears kid,
Fight for what you take stock in.
Out here on rolling hills,
There ain't no alibis.
Only sweat and dirt,
Only that open sky.
If you take nothing more
Than these simple words,
With your head held high kid,
You will have your day.
You can leave hardened,
I won't think twice of it.
If you got a battle back home,
You got no reason to stay."
Out there on rolling hills,
He thought of days back home.
All the pain and hurt,
His mother praying alone.
Sleep never came for him,
No rest for wicked men.
In those starless skies,
The moon shined shame on him.
He found redemption in pale saints
That took him in.
His grey eyes,
That only youth can feel
Before life sours them.
"Where you from, where you been?"
The boy would ask.
He could never answer,
It was the truth he lacked.
"I'm from nowhere kid, I've been to hell and back.
I'm a loner kid, I got no grace and no tact."
He had nothing more than those simple words.
He was a runner and a coward
Always losing his way.
Till no sleep for him.
"I ain't no wicked man."
There would be no night like this for him ever again.
He would change his fate,
He would mend the breaks.
He left that night with parting words to lead his way.
"Don't you be like me."
"Don't you be like me."
"Don't you be like me."
And so that moonlit sky shined praise down on him.


September, 1969.

He found himself waiting again.
Out at the crossroads, out on the lam.
This time not running, this time by right.
A road-side hitcher waits for headlights.
"The blues, the blues, the blues won't bring me down."
Yhat pick-up truck stopped.
"Where you headed, kid?"
"Back to the boardwalk coast to fix the wrong i did."
That old man would bring him just as far as he could.
His hellhound sniffing out for a trace of any good.
The hope, the hope, the hope he's chasing.
The blues, the blues, the blues he carried are dead and buried.


It still looks the same here after all these years.
The junkies and the steamboat men,
The sun never set on them here.
He walks to his rundown home,
Hell-bent to find his mother,
But all that fear comes back
When he is greeted by his brother.
"It's not the same"
Its not the same
its not the same
"Oh, I never thought you would come right to me.
I've spent years on these docks
Just waiting after you left,
We were left with nothing.
Every day what you did ran through me.
You selfish fuck.
It's your fault,
Can't you see?
Your addict mother is dead.
Now, are you happy?
You're left with nothing.
You're left with nothing.
Now, you'll pay your debt to me.
You coward cheating thief.
Down at those long steel tracks,
Your life is my payback."
"I bet you wish you were dead."
They walk the rails with a gun to his head.
And so he lay on the ties,
Just waiting.
Those racing thoughts through his head came rushing.
He slips out from the weight of the elder.
The younger's fear once again toppled over.
And now it's his upper hand,
He sees the steam overhead.
This will be the last the elder breathes again.
Roll on through,
That train bearing down.
As it ended his days,
He somehow knew it would always be this way.
So ends that cold heart legacy.


"There's no place for me."
A man of nowhere,
A man of black heart
From the dead end streets.
"Regret runs through me.
I am no one, I am nothing,
I am a man of defeat. What's left for me?
Whats left for me?"
He thought of those open roads,
His mother praying alone,
That vagrant anthem and the field sung hymns,
The cowardice forever following him.
"What's left, what's left for me?
The world has turned it's back on me.
There's no place for me."
A sullen walk to the chapel stairs.
"Regret runs through me."
A hard pull on that white oak door
To face up those fears.
There's no place for me

"What brings you here my son?"
"I've been a horrible man.
I killed my father, I killed my brother,
I left my mother in your god's hands.
"Clasp your hands and count your sins.
Kneel at the pew till the sermon begins.
"No judgment cast down this day, will set you free.
You are forgiven my son,
You are blessed and redeemed.
You've found absolution here son, but only from me."
"What's left, what's left for me?"
A sullen walk to the steeple top
To look over the city.
He carves his name in that old brass bell,
So when it rings he can hear it in hell.
One last look to that western sky,
One last wish he could have changed his life.
"I ain't, ain't no wicked man."
He let his fleet slip from under him.