Left Enough

Location

Well I’ve come to tell you a story.

I gotta warn you, it’s probably not a happy story.

I gotta warn you, it’s probably not even a good story.

But I think it’s probably a true story,

and that’s good enough for me;

you see,

 

I saw an old man tryin to hop a train

one weekend in the pooring rain,

and I thought, my God, this is where I’ll see him die.

But he caught hold with a smiling face,

though his eyes, I think they knew their place

as they fell in sad confession of his lie.

 

And I followed him, then, to the back of the car

and then out in the streets and down to the bar

where he stopped to nurse his tonic and his gin.

And he saw me there, watchin, and he said “Son,

you’ll come to know, before I’m done,

why I’ve grown to need the bitter taste of sin.”

 

I said, “I’m sorry, I just have to know, man;

what was it that went wrong in your plan?

How was it that you came to wind up here?”

And I don’t know why, but I trembled then.

I shivered once, and then shivered again;

and I asked my question with whole lot of fear.

 

He said, “Boy, I don’t know what to say.

Your life, right now, it’s child’s play,

but I think you’ll come to see it in your time.

All those things that you believe in now,

you’ll come to realize, somehow,

well, it all ain’t really worth a single dime."

 

And it was then, I think, that I took a seat,

knowing how I could not retreat

from anything that drunken bum might say.

It might be he was just crazy and old,

or at least that’s what I’ve since been told

but I still remember every word today.

 

He said, “These city streets were spun by spiders

casting out their neon fibers,

catching all the wayward souls of men

whose sacrificial sons and daughters

sink their dreams in frozen waters,

then live to feed the hunger of the web.”

 

He said, “I used to kneel down on the ground

and pray for love to make a sound,

but now I could not bear the world from my knees.

And I gave the summers of my youth

to the winter winds of brutal truth

which only left me missing that warm breeze.”

 

He said, “They’ll tell you this is Babylon,

but God, I fear, has come and gone,

and we are all that’s left now that he’s dead;

with passions that we sell for food

and innocence we trade for booze

and childhoods we work so hard to shed.”

 

He said “We search in silence for a home,

and mostly wind up all alone,

with memories of lovers we once knew;

And we all try to walk without regret

for all the ones we can’t forget

and all the silly shit we put them through.”

 

But then…then he kinda paused.

He got a little thoughtful, and he said, “You know,

In spite of all the darkness here,

 some days we hold up, without fear,

despite our tangled mess of city streets.”

But then he said,

“But really, most days,

We’re all lyin in the beds we make,

with pride and lessons that we take

from all of our predictable defeats.”

 

And I just kinda whispered back, and said,

“You know, Once,

 I had a dream of Babylon,

before our sins could come along,

when innocence could still be heard to ring.

But if this is what’s to come for me

with all that I will live to see,

at least there’ll be left enough for me to sing,

 

right?”

And he just slurred out,

“Sure, my friend,

there’s left enough to sing,

even still.”

 

He passed out right then, after our talk,

and I stood up and began to walk,

and spent the whole night thinkin over a stroll.

Though it was just some drunken bum’s word

I gotta admit, that speech I heard,

it really, honestly, kinda took its toll.

 

I never saw him again, after that night,

and mostly, I figure, that’s alright.

But I heard he passed away the very next day.

They said he was tryin to hop a ride

and he lost his grip, and he fell, and he died.

And maybe it was meant to be that way.

 

I like to stop at that bar, from time to time,

though, mostly, a soda will do me fine,

instead of spirits, when I need to quench my thirst.

And whenever my world is crashing down,

I like to think he’s hangin around,

and I say a prayer for me, but I say one for him first.

 

I’m  not sure where my life’s goin to

but I’m sure I got a lot of living left to do

and sometimes it’s kind of hard to think about.

But every night, at the foot of my bed,

I whisper, before I rest my head,

the one phrase I’ve heard that I could never do without.

 

“Sure, my friend,

there’s left enough to sing,

even still.

Amen.”

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