Story Songs Lyrics
All songs by Sperry Hunt

The Poet of Santa Fe County

(I watched a homeless man write poetry and letters in a Santa Fe coffee shop. His duffle and duster suggested he was living rough. The song is three letters home.)

Thanks for drivin’ me to San Antone.
And for waitin’ til my midnight bus had gone.
Sorry I had to say you couldn’t come,
But my road is just too hard for one so young.
But I wish you could see the rain drape the sky.
And when the sun lights the mesa, it’s like God’s in your eye.

[Chorus] I’m the poet of Santa Fe County.
You’re the girl in the photograph
Who sends me news and chocolate brownies
And your love in every paragraph.
When I fill my book, I’ll bring it home.
On every page will be a poem
Worthy of the ages and you.  

I’m glad you like my poetry
And no, the man in the sad song is not me.
But since I wrote, he’s on the run
With a needle in one hand; the other holds a gun.
I know you don’t like me sleepin’ in the park,
But that’s where the music is - in the dark.


Sometimes the winter lasts too long,
Like a phonograph needle stuck on a drinkin’ song.
It slides inside my coat and makes a home,
And it runs its icy nails along my bones.
But I’m happy about you and Joe.
I’d like to come see y’all, but I can’t go
Cause I never know when the rivers flow.
And though it’s oh so seldom, 
It’s always welcome like a long-lost friend. 


Boys Town 

(An old man regrets his lack of empathy for a girl he encountered in the bordertown brothel when they were teenagers.)

At sixteen years I heard the talk of Boystown.
Everything a boy could want is in Boystown.
Three hundred miles to Mexico.
Lie to your daddy and, buddy, let’s go.
Little Eva’s got her veils at the Tamyko.
There’s a worm at the bottom of the bottle you know,
And you're the only ones who’re really free in Boystown.

We’ll find a horse-drawn hack downtown,
And head for the break in the high white walls of Boystown.
Nod to the cops in the moonlit door.
You’re the ones they’re lookin’ out for:
The Norte boys out to score
Who will brag to the chicas on the Galveston shore
That you’re the only ones who are really free in Boystown.

As a boy I didn’t care about the girls of Boystown -
Of who they were and how they came to Boystown
The woman in rouge led the girls our way,
Someone’s mamacita by the light of day.
She took our money then walked away,
Glad she didn’t have to stay
With those who were the ones who were really free in Boystown.

Rosa was the prettiest girl in Boystown
She loved me for free in Boystown
I told my buddy let’s take her home
We all hit the border for San Antone
Where the tired came down and the hot sun shone
I put her on the bus, she looked so alone
Cause she was not the one who was really free in Boystown. 

Fifteen-thousand million miles from Boystown
Te requerdo Rosa Linda de Boystown.
How little I cared for Rosa’s heart
And the chance she took right from the start.
If you hear me, Rosa, down in your soul,
I pray you forgive the love I stole
When I was the one who was really free in Boystown.

My sixteenth year I heard the talk of Boystown.
Everything a boy could want is in Boystown.

Bueno the Roan

(Sometimes you need a horse or a friend to lead you home.)

The telephone rang deep in the night, tearing me from my dream. 
The earth was the sky, and the sky was the earth. Nothing was as it seemed.
I looked at the number.
It was you again,
Calling your only friend
When you’re near the end.
It’s what you do
When it’s them.

I remember as boys, crossing the tracks at the reservoir.
We followed the creek through the woods to Bayou Noir,
Where we fished with the kids of the maids and the yardmen,
Side by side.
Dreams of the riverside.
Boys of the riverside.
Boys you now decide
Were Them.

[Chorus] But long ago we rode the hills of New Mexico
On Pablo the paint, and Bueno the roan.
Caught in the rains with only our ponchos for shelter,
Deep in the trees two mountains from home.
Now you shelter behind the mighty walls of your fortress
Where everyone fears you and leaves you alone.
Let me take you back to the hills of New Mexico.
I will lead you home like Bueno the roan. 

You went home to the clubs of the boys and the girls. You watched them through the fence.
You worked for your dad. You studied like mad building your own defense
When history opened the door, 
You could not lose.
You said you’d sung your blues.
You'd paid your dues.
You’d not refused
Like Them
The corporate world wrapped its arms around you.
The legacy lifted you up and got you through
To the corner room so high you could watch
The riverside,
And dream of the riverside,
Boys of the riverside.
Boys you now decide
Were Them.


Round Road Home

(A lullaby about my discovery that life is circular.)

I learned to sail to write a book.
I wrote the book to learn about time.
I learned about time in the time it took
To learn to sail this boat of mine.

It took longer than I thought.
The truest course always does.
But when I lost what I had sought,
I found that home was where I was.
[Chorus]  As the moon wheels round the earth,
As the earth reels round the sun.
We swing in circles,
Running down the round road home.
As the stars bend the light
Circumnavigating sight,
We swing in circles,
Running down the round road home.

I took angles on a star.
I drew lines upon a chart.
I knew the poles were just so far.
I knew the heavens by heart.

Now I don’t know about all I see,
And I’ve not seen all I have known.
But when you go from A to B,
Take the round road home.


The Glitter Is Gone

(Love, loss, and gossip in a small town.)

[Chorus] Oh dear, the glitter is gone.			 
Gone from the mountains. Gone with the dawn.			
Gone are the dewdrops that sparkled the lawn.
Gone, dear, the glitter is gone.
I told her I loved her. I showed her my heart.	  
She kindly turned me away.
She said she must wander and make a new start,
But surely, she’d come back this way.


But you were so spiteful when she turned you down.	  
You wore your anger as your crown.
You crowed from the rooftops that she was too bold.
With all of her glitter she could not be gold.

She may not love me. I understand.		  
I’ll be her friend, if not her man.
But your poisoned tongue drove her away.
Now all is dusk that ever was day.


The Door in the Dark

(The story of a friend's youth.)

It was a summer night I was ten,
Mom said go to bed I’ll tuck you in, 
When we heard the phone.
She caught it on the second ring. 
She made a fist then smiled at me, and here’s the thing:
She said, "Your daddy’s comin' home."
We made a cake on Saturday,
And waited on the couch.

Chorus: Then you showed up late with a pony just for me.
You danced 'round the fire in the night at the edge of the sea
Then you vanished, like a spark.
You could always find the door in the dark.

For weeks we didn’t hear from you.
Then a man with scars and a green tattoo
Asked Mom, “Where’s he at?”
She said didn’t know,
And would he please just go.
He said, “Sure, but I’ll be back.”
We sold the horse and drove away
That night I dreamed…


I’m twenty-four and in the world.
 Life is hard, but I’ve got this girl. 
And Mom’s still alone.
You’ve been in jail for fourteen years, 
When Mom calls me all choked in tears
And says, “Your daddy’s comin’ home.”
I don’t know how I feel.
I’m just thinking about the time… 


The Gulf of Mexico

(The summer in high school when my girl and my best friend fell in love weeks before he drowned.)
Sun was in our eyes.
We couldn't see the end.
You were my girl.
He was my friend.

I glanced away.	
Dreamers do.
You waited for me.
He waited for you.

[Chorus] Some dreams take you over.
Some take you under.	
Some just drag you where they go.
Some live in the heart forever.
Some change like the weather.
This dream drowned in the Gulf of Mexico.
You called to me.	
I did not come.
I didn’t even know
What I had done.
I broke your heart.
Like dreamers do.
I didn’t even care.
I broke it in two.

You turned to him.		
He said let’s wait.
You were my girl.
He was my mate.

He left you there.
Said he really should go,
But he'd return from  
The Gulf of Mexico.


Broken Not Beautiful

(The title says it all.)

Elle was a model. We met in the bathroom.
She’d forgotten to fasten the door.
Clothed on the toilet, she slept like a baby.
Her needle then dropped to the floor.
She rose to her feet in a flood of apologies
And asked me for a ride.
And have you a cigarette. Mine were taken.
Her eyes shined as she cried,

[Chorus] That’s the way I came out - broken not beautiful.
Then all of this happened, and now I’m all alone.
I said I cannot carry you. Your burden is too heavy
And I’m tired of the weight of my own.

John was a man in love with a man
In love with a woman, I say.
John tipped his hand being rude to the woman.
The man had to turn John away.
John set sail for the Barrier Islands.
For the Barrier Islands he’d gone
Where John loved a woman in love with a woman.
John sang me this song:


Jake was a small man who climbed the high stairs
To greet me and show me his scars.
Shot as a child then left by his mother,
Jake sleeps under the stars.
He fed me his rice cakes. 
Cold makes his wounds ache.
He’s writing his memoirs now.		
He said, "I see by your manuscript you are a writer.
Could you help me show the world how?"


Like a Stone 

(The weight of trauma.)

At the dinner on the terrace of the thirty-room mansion
Where the lawn rolls gently to the sea,
When the wind blew the candles, and the moon played mars,
And everyone turned to see.

A woman told a story from shadows
About the place nearby,
Where she lived with her mother in her grandmother’s house,
There was nowhere else to fly.

Amber embers lit her coal black eyes.
I knew the story well
Of the little girl lost when the porch light blew,
And she wandered down the hill and fell.

[Chorus] And the wind blew hard and the windows shook
And the palm trees sailed by
And the knife drew cleanly cross the bone
Now every rain is a hurricane
With one name,
And you carry that name
Like a stone.

I met a man whose mom and dad 
Left whenever they fought.
It must have been me. I'm bad.
I told him it was not.

Some can tell their story.
Some cannot.
Some just deal out misery
The same as what they got.

[Repeat Chorus]

There are creatures that live in Vulcan’s mouth
At the bottom of the sea –
Living on what should kill them,
Singing, “God bless me.” 

Blues Suitcase

(A dream of murder and pursuit.)

Wake up, Baby. We’re leavin’ this place.
I can’t stay here no more.
Throw everything in the blues suitcase.
I’m headed for the door.
Can't stand the rain pourin’ through the roof.
Water’s risin’ round me and that’s the truth.
It’s colder than a night in East Duluth.
Look’a here,
Pack the blues suitcase.

It’s worse than that. My number is nine.
I killed the judge’s kin.
Five card stud in the Railroad Mine,
I’d had me too much gin.
I bet my daddy’s watch on triple queens.
Beau drew the damnedest straight I'd ever seen.
I cut that cracker deep and mean.
And shot his buddy through the ear.
Pack the blues suitcase.

We can’t stay here with the moccasin snakes
And the judge comin’ off the ridge.
If there’s trouble just bolt for the Devil’s Gate,
And meet me ‘neath the bridge.
I whet my knife on the grindin’ stone.
My 44-40 gonna bust some bones.
I may go to Hell, but I won’t go alone.
Pack the blues suitcase.
The Last Light

(A dream I had after hearing that a friend's son had taken his own life.)

You packed your bags.
I wish I’d known.
I’d have told you all you took was not your own.
You closed the door
And walked unseen
To the black ship in the harbor in a dream.

You paid the fare.
The fare was high.
It was everything beneath the sky.
You stepped on board.
I was ashore.
I was listening for your key inside the door.

[Chorus] But the sun shines too in memory.
The night is held away.
And the sea will bring you back to me,
If only for the day.
I will meet you on the lee shore, son.
We’ll speak and wend our way
Before your ship returns for you
In the last light of the day.

Your mom, she works.
She naps and whiles.
She is afraid she will betray you with a smile.
In the day 
She knows you’re gone.
But the moonlight throws your shadow on the lawn.

I like to think
You’re lost at sea
Searching for your mom and me.
I man the beach
Beneath the caves
Searching for your sail
Above the waves.


Header photos by Jim Gilmore