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Sweat

from Stray by Bambara

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lyrics

Well I saw John in a vision
Years after he died.
I asked what it’s like to stop living.
He said, “It’s a look in your eye.”
Then he moved in slow-motion.
Said, “It’s kind of like that too.
Death is what you make it
But you’ll find that out soon.”

No halo
No wings
Just seventeen
With a sheen of nothing

Connor’s mom wore a
Bandanna on her head.
Frail and tired, but still smiling
Though she rarely left her bed.
One day she called us in
Put Old Yeller on TV
And we watched it both wishing
We were outside climbing trees.

When the kid shot his dog
She fixed Connor’s hair and said,
“Though it doesn’t seem fair,
Sometimes love’s interrupted by death.”

Near the end KC said, “Son, no savior will return.
And his daddy ain’t waiting for us.
See what happened to Irene after years at the church.
Ain’t no Good Book keep maggots away from their lunch.”
The last words he said to his nurse were,
“Pray for me.”

Ed reclined on a frozen body for a smoke.
His friend stepped onto a landmine
And Ed’s uniform got soaked.
His eyes lingered on the cigarette in his hand
And he ashed it with his new finger
The doc cut from a dead man.

He told me nights were so black
It’s like you passed to the other side.
You’re not sure if you’re alive
Till you feel the sweat burn your eyes.

At her place after working a late shift at the bar
Drunk and mad at the hot city night
She was scared, saying people got shot up on Starr.
I said, “Everything is alright.”
And it all seemed so suddenly sweet to me.
Even cleaning up rich tourist piss on my knees.
Kicking her hissing cat off of my feet I told her,
“We’re still sweating.”

credits

from Stray, released February 14, 2020

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