THE BALLAD OF TRIXIE DELIGHT

Writing

I never tried my hand at a ballad before, and this may not be the usual subject matter for the form, but it was really fun to write.

they say there’s a corner of heaven reserved

for priests, politicians and barkeeps

we spend our time helping the people we serve

though sometimes their problems run chin deep

I’ve tended this bar for near twenty years

and I’ve seen more than I care to tell

I suppose that I’ve poured out an ocean of beer

and drunk more than my share as well

I’ve heard the confessions of killers and fools

and downed shots with a couple of saints

I’ve had punks strut in who thought they were cool

and watched them leave knowing they ain’t

of all the nights spent with one eye on the till

and one ear with some clown on the make

there’s one magic moment that stays with me still

one memory I can’t seem to shake

a hard rain had pounded the city all evening

and business had been pretty slow

one hand on my coat, I was planning on leaving

when a voice at the door said, don’t go

an old woman entered with slow, measured steps

took a stool at the end of the bar

her gaze when I caught it was none too direct

like the road she had traveled was far

I gave her some time to get settled in

a good bartender knows not to hurry

one good look at her face told me she favored gin

and I could see every bottle she’d buried

I’ve got a small problem, she said in a whisper

I had to lean close just to hear

if you’d pour me a drink I’d be grateful, mister

but I don’t have a penny to spare

the thing is, I’m not one for charity

I can set things right, given the chance

I offer you something of heart stopping rarity

if you stand me that drink, I will dance

I guess my face betrayed my thoughts

and she put me to the test

if you don’t know about it, you shouldn’t scoff

there was a time when they called me the best

the name I was born with is Mary McDevin

but my stage name was Trixie Delight

I gave more than one boy his first glimpse of heaven

and haunted a thousand men’s nights

then she slid off the stool and stood herself tall

walked arrow straight to the jukebox

she punched up one song, leaned back to the wall

and the whole damn place started to rock

she started off slow, just a sway to the beat

like each note was her own private lover

I will swear to this day she was giving off heat

and I thought about diving for cover

she threw off her coat with a flick of one wrist

shimmied out of her dress like a cat

and if someone asked me I’d have to insist

I no longer knew where I was at

I could blame it on the hour, or blame it on the beer

or maybe it was just a trick of the light

but I swear right now on what I hold dear

for that one brief moment she was Trixie Delight

the music faded and she quickly dressed

and an old woman sat down at the bar

I knew in my heart that I’d just seen the best

that I’d been entertained by a star

I poured her a double without saying a thing

and she knocked it right back like a pro

I was thinking about all of the joys this job brings

when Trixie said, it’s time to go

as she opened the door to let herself out

she turned and favored me with a wink

I may never know what that night was about

but I sure as hell know what I think

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