In former lives, they had you navigate the ocean. Your rebel’s line moved west and settled in Michigan. And in your youth, you knew a boy who played with pellet guns, shooting morning doves and laughing as they fell among the tall grass of the Earth. And when you grew, you left your home and lost your vision. Your fingertips spread out above the congregation. They’d tell you, Max, we want to meet your wife and children, but all your sons would sleep beneath the Chrysler Building, and your woman lay in verse.
Where have you been, Lord Randal, my son? Oh, where have you been, my handsome young man? I was out in the city, mother, making my name. I saw what I saw and I won’t be the same.
Where did the voices of my dear friends go? Oh, where is that dusty old bible I owned? I was gone for a time and now nothing is left. I could sleep in my bed but I won’t get my rest.
Well I went to a movie last night all alone. I knocked on their doors, but I guess they weren’t home. I fell asleep halfway through, turning away from an ending that I couldn’t see if I strained.
I walked through the fields and I saw myself dead––
a black dog in one ear, a man in my bed. Get your typewriter, mother, and when I come down, I will spell out my sermon if you transcribe the sounds.
And here is the room where it will come to pass when the fate I have measured is out of my hands. But I painted my evidence all down the halls with the black streaks where my fingers moved on the walls.
It has been twenty years since I saw the sun rise. It has been twenty still since I saw a man smile. I heard dry throats that whistled on top of the crowd––
I am tired of talking and I want to lie down.
And here in the middle path, my wandering has yielded no ground. I am tired of hunting and I want to lie down.
Where is that whiskey? This headache won’t pass. Where is that whiskey? I’ll just have a glass. But I drank all my whiskey and put on your gown. I’m tired of dancing and I want to lie down.
I fear you are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son. I fear you are poisoned, you sorry young man. Oh yes, I am poisoned, mother, make my bed now. Yeah, I’m sick at the heart and I want to lie down.