High Lonesome

By  Anthony Walton |  November 30, 2010

Hank Williams, 1923–1953

1.

Hillbilly
existentialist
poet laureate
and patron saint
of hard-times,

 knocks, living;
poor white exemplar
of big fun and deep 
blues. Big hats
and sequined suits,
Cadillacs and bad
memories; then
there were women—
routinely skilled at evil
you wouldn't do
to a dog, but he covered
it all with the redneck
swagger of a country 
boy with a city
paycheck,
do-si-do
on razor blades
and thin ice.

2.

Pain is all the more excruciating 
in 3/4 time, the slow twist
of dream and reality.
1-2-3, 1-2-3
1-2-3, 1-2-3
waltzing through
the hangovers
and over the edge,
with a wall that concealed
a wink, as if he knew
he was already
dead, this world weighing
on him like a life
sentence. No night
so cloudy as one
without moonshine,
there's Hank
singing high
and walking slow,
rolling the days
like dice, do-si-do
on razor blades
and thin ice.