The Tennessee Walker

My home was in Memphis

But Chicago now calls

Perhaps its broad shoulders

Will lessen the falls

My car's in Kentucky

I lost it at dice

My rolls were on firs

But soon turned to ice.

I'm a Tennessee walker

On an Illinois road

My heart's on my sleave

And I'm tired of the load

My life's back on Beale St.

But it's taken my breath

So I'm headed to Chi-town

To ward off my death.

I guess it's what comes

In the form of the dues

That one ante's up

Before singing the blues.

I'm gonna start singing

There's so much to unload

For a Tennessee walker

On an Illinois road.

I know I can make it

I think that I can,

Chicago not Memphis

Loves a downhearted man.

If like the banks of Big Muddy

My chances erode

I'll be a Tennessee walker

On an Illinois road.

I'm not too far out

The windy city's in view

I can hear the crowd wailin'

For the Tennessee blue

But then came the chariot

To collect what was owed

And took the Tennessee walker

From the Illinois road.

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Laryalee Fraser's picture

Wow, Michael, this really holds a lot of feeling -- and how smoothly it flows. It's haunting...a whole lifetime caught up in these lines -- and so sadly concluded.
Great write!

Melissa Rives's picture

I just love this....and to know that you wrote this from one tiny photo of some Illinois wildflowers and a road. What a tale you tell here! Fantastic imagination...I can just picture a guy with a bag on his shoulder walking down the live out his dreams.