Track 1: Stagger Lee

Track 1: Stagger Lee

[Bartleby’s Poetry Corner]

The night deep clear,
the moon soft yellow;
Leaves twist curled
They tumble on down

Me standing cool
on crackup corner
crosswise Bill Curtis
and his bar, just yonder

What makes old bulldog bark?
Makes her bow, lunge and start?
Two gamblers tall, in natty hats
full of drink, commence a spat.

Stagger Lee and Billy Lyons
Carriage driver and levee hand
Rascal pimp and his pal Billy
Fresh thirty versus five and twenty

Eighteen Ninety Five
in colored town
One backs the Dems,
one the Republicans

I can’t do it no more.
The hurt’s too much.
I need two sweet ears
that can hear such
as I aim to clear.

But there ain’t no one
who I can get through to.
There just ain’t nobody
I’ll sing my boo hoohs to
by the bank of old muddy
where I solemnlike stay.

My fingers done worn flat
My voice gone all crusted
Don’t nobody care none
I’m sleeping neath rusted
old railway signs done
in fade golds and black

But I recall that night when
fool Stagger Lee got drunk and
shot Billy Lyons in the gut then
reached o’r and snatched back
his tall white Stetson hat.

Yes, Stagger Lee shot Billy
Poor Billy lingered days
His wife and child prayed
through wide disfigured wails
while Stag dreamed of cards and cons
in a dank hard prison cell.

Now I’m limping off my time
by the curving glinting edge
stricken weak by a crime
I cannot ever find.
Still it stakes its wedge
between me and my own mind.


[Bartleby’s Poetry Corner]

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