Song #31 // Hayes Carll, “Drive” [Lovers and Leavers]

I honestly have no idea where this one came from or where it was going, but I sorta like it. It’s been on my desktop for at least a year and I can honestly say I don’t remember writing it, but I kinda like its voice:

I just kept thinking: if I could just stay in this room it would all be all right. If I could just figure everything out before I emerge it would be fine. No knocks on the door. No trips to town. Just get to work. Figure it out.

Sometimes I would. Sometimes I’d spend a whole day focusing on my hands, on my thoughts. Sometimes I’d write things down, commit them to memory.

But, you know, sometimes. Well, most times. I’d fail. I’d fail again and again. Looking out the window, fixing something that needs fixing. Or reading. Or thinking about things that don’t require thinking about. Those are the worst things, the wicked things. The things that take up so much time but mean nothing really.

I’d be my best each new year. Like I had a new start, a fresh start. When everything around me slowed down too and we had a promise together to just keep things quiet until it was all sorted out, you know? The more it snowed, the deeper the spent stalks got buried and the hemlocks laid heavy, the calmer I felt. Not because I was doing much, but because there was still time.

The sun became my enemy then. Each warm afternoon threatened everything.

So I began to wish for the night, to wait for the night. Clear skies and partial moons, dull galaxy in the distance, while the snow crystalized and the critter tracks kept time to the weather’s movements. Silence. It was the silence that I loved most. I knew wind was good, too, maybe better. But it blew my calmness into unpredictable drifts. It exposed big patches in the ground where that other life still existed.

But in the silence nothing changed. I was the only listener. The only watcher. I could come and go as I pleased and nothing changed. Nothing changed me. Only Orion’s hunt across the sky marked the progress I was racing against. But that’s the thing, you see, it wasn’t a race during those times. There was no time. There was no people, as long as I kept away from them anyway. It was just me and my plans.

As an Austinite it’s now my sworn-duty to like Hayes Carll. Fortunately he makes it pretty easy, even if I haven’t really sunk my teeth fully into this album as much as I’d like to. The title alone would make believers our of sinners if you ask me.

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