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Down on the Farm

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Down on the Farm

I've written two "positive" songs in my life.  One I've already copped to, the teenage-penned and dreadfully embarrassingly titled "Electric Sun."  That was 1987?   The other is much more recent, written three days after Justine and I learned "we" were pregnant, an unexpected...surprise, straight out of the home pregnancy test annals, just two unmarried folks, huddled around a piss-soaked piece of plastic, fingers crossed... "It's two strips!"  "Yea, we're going to be parents!"  The only part missing being the shitting bricks.

So Justine flew to the Bahama the next day, a pre-planned trip with a friend.  I stayed on the farm with Lucky, and I wrote my first song in close to a decade, "Down on the Farm."  Because though I was pretty terrified at the prospect of being a dad, I knew my life was changing and nothing would ever be the same and all that shit, so I wanted to write a song for a woman that didn't involve my tearing her a new asshole for fucking me over and being a whore.  I wanted to write...a love song.  Or as close to a love song as a thug guy ever gets.  So I wrote Down on the Farm.

The song is available on The Wandering Jews website, whose link is in the upper right hand corner of this blog for those of you too stupid (Petersen) to figure out how to navigate cyberspace.  Like Michael Stipe with "Losing My Religion," I didn't want to write a typical love song, so I focused on two things.  Cheap shoes.  And cheaper pornography.

This is something Justine had confessed to having an affection for early on in our relationship.  "I like cheap shoes, and cheaper pornography," she said.  Which is the coolest thing I'd heard a woman say since ex-wife number one's "I don't care if anyone likes me, I just want to be popular" (which I also turned into a song, though not as good, and not as...lovingly).  So I'd had that phrase bopping around my head for a while.

Justine, like a lot of people, thinks she would make the perfect subject of a novel. Whenever I am struggling with writing, which is...invariably--it never fails: "you should write about me!"  And when I do, like I am here, I can promise you, she'll love the piece.  In short, she is the female version of me in this regard, completely and unabashedly self-absorbed.

She'd been pressing me to write something for her, a song in particular.  I told her, repeatedly, that she didn't want that, because by the time I wrote a "song" for a woman, she was long gone, earning lines like "I should've known better the first time I saw you naked in the light" and having the whorish details of her whoring put on public display.

Still, after we found out about "the news," I figured I'd give it a shot.  And it was surprisingly easy.  I stole some chords, because that is how I always write songs, steal chords, change order, and, viola!  Rock 'n' roll, mutherfucker.

Anyway, here's the result.  The record will soon be available on iTunes and (in theory) the band should be playing around the city soon.  (BTW, if anybody wants a free copy, let me know, and I'll send you one.  They make lovely coasters.)

Down on the Farm

With more problems than a matchbook,
I took a long Greyhound ride,
with the sinners and the castoffs,
the wounded caterpillars who’d never fly.

In the bathroom of a Texaco,
I shot up the last of my dreams,
dialed heartache from a phone booth,
while the desert rains washed over me.

Now a picture hangs on Saturday.
I open doors with my own keys.
I buy my food inside of supermarkets,
and the cops ain’t lookin’ for me.
And I got a blonde-haired girl.
She likes cheap shoes and cheaper porn.
And we got us a little family,
down on the farm.

Took a room in a motel
on the skid row of Denver,
cashed in every broken promise
’cause I knew I could never save her.

And when it hits you, man,
oh, brother, it hits you hard,
when there’s no one to let down
’cause no one believes in you anymore.

Now the same banks I stole from
give me my checking account.
I can walk around without a shirt on
and not worry if my ribs are sticking out.

And I got a blonde-haired girl.
She likes cheap shoes and cheaper porn.
And she tells me she loves me
even when I leave the light on.

    And this body may be ragged;
    I may have a scar or two.
    But after all the drugs I’ve taken
    even pesticide is health food.
    And I may complain
    ’cause complaining is what I do.
    But on this farm tonight
    I can’t complain
    ’cause it’s led me to you.

On these streets paint by number,
all my friends are battered and bruised.
As the sweet summer rain falls around me,
I catch my baby in her new red dress walking down the avenue…


At February 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM , Blogger Justine said...



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