Monday, November 15, 2010

How To Break The Law

*This poem is about two years old, and shows clear signs of shameless Leonard Cohen wannabe-ism. It's notable for me, personally, because it's a poem with no water or plant-life imagery, which I tend to use overmuch. I have been writing prose exclusively for a few months now, and thought maybe sharing this would help ease me back into the habit.

How To Break The Law

So I hitched a short ride with a tall police officer
She wrote on my hands with a black magic marker
One it said guilty the other palm readin' stoned
A public execution when i'd like to be alone
So the crowd gathered 'round old friends and strangers too
But no where to be found was the lady in blue
She'd wandered off haunted by her own cruisers lights
The bright blue and red, the sirens had got deep in her mind
So the stoning was canceled and we all got a torch
I went to her alone with the touch of a church
We finally found the girl she was crouched and alone
Her badge it was dirty and her skin it felt cold
She'd fallen asleep on a playground swing set
So I lifted her up and my back it was bent
I carried the load off out of those woods
And laid the girl to rest on the attics floor boards
We sat in that tower of wood and old clothes
And she finally woke up, and the girl didn't know
Where her badge and her gun had both flown off to
And I said, little girl, the law it left you.
You're broken and wrong, but kid that's ok
Cause you're in my attic now and here you can stay
Up here it is warm and we got grandmas old things
We'll put on a play- i can write if you'll sing
You don't need that rule, you don't need no force
It's just you and me now so we'll lock the stair's door
So we sat up in that room with the windows flung wide
And now without the law's cructh she learned how to smile.

*As always, I welcome comments and critique.


  1. It took me so long to digest this and make sense of it. Which isn't bad, but I definitely had to slow down and take little bites. I agree with you, it shows signs of definite "Leonard Cohen wannabe-ism." There is some great imagery (I'm an imagery whore), and I like the story and its resolution (otherwise I wouldn't have read it over as many times as I did). The rhythm was also bit wonky...are you planning on revisiting this? I would love to see your interpretation of it now for comparison. Have you wrote music to accompany it?

  2. The only adjustments I have or would make would be to eliminate some of the folksiness of the language, or better put, to refine it, as much of it works very well for my sensibilities. It has, in my mind, a very definite rolling, Dylan-esque cadence. My musical talents are too scant to think to hard about such things, but if it could be served better with an acoustic guitar, I'd be the least surprised of anyone. Ultimately, I see it as a spoken word piece.
    Honestly, with the hindsight I am now afforded, I'm astounded at how raw and honest it fealt at the time, but leaves little hint to the details of it's inspiration now.

  3. Honestly, after my first reading I immediately thought of Dylan. Thus, I am compelled to agree with you on that note =) I will admit that I'm not particularly a big fan of his, mostly because that is ALL my brother has listened to for the past 5 years...and counting. So I will admit that I am not without bias.
    I would still like see you tinker with it! Like you mentioned, just refining some of the language would be sufficient. Whatever you do, DON'T delete the original!
    Now I am intrigued as to its inspiration. Like I said before, it is a good story...even if you don't feel it now, you felt it once and that keeps it real, bro.