Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator

Not A Drill

 

We’d only just retired

To our hideout on the hill

When the first gunshots were fired:

This is not a drill.

The bullets barrage

Is not a mirage,

Though we wish its intrusions were fake,

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

There’s the mirror I made in jail

From a piece of shattered glass,

Painted with details

Of daisies and honey grass.

It holds your reflection

& it’s also a weapon,

Like any good thing that I make,

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

There’s the comb I whittled there

While the inmates sharpened shivs.

You’ll run it through your hair

As long as you still live.

Its tines make yourself straight,

My lover, my cellmate,

But our walls are no longer opaque.

If the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

We’ve got our guns and knapsacks,

Our good reserves of rye

A briefcase full of greenbacks

To spend before we die;

Now the cabin’s a rock-pile

To bury our stockpile

& the roof is beginning to quake,

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

There’s the bible on the dresser,

The tear on Mary’s cheek,

The cross of the confessor

To whom I rarely speak.

The rosary’s lain

Like a ball and a chain

That I never could manage to shake,

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

We’ve got clippings of past glories

From the papers of the west,

Overwritten stories

Of romance and conquest:

Us making poses,

Our teeth around roses,

Our legacy burning at stake,

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

There’s the folio of writings

You secret in your ledger

What fears you found exciting,

What turmoil gave you pleasure

Our prayers to our lord

The keys to the Ford,

In which you and I must make our break

But if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

So let’s assess the damage

Before we take another blast:

Will that ledger be your bandage,

Will that blotter be your cast?

Will my decorative touches

Be the powder keg,

Will my letters work as crutches

To heal your leg?

 

Will the story be the fuel,

Will the rosary be a fuse,

Will it feel like renewal

To burn what we choose?

As the flames clamber higher

And we begin to perspire

Will it feel like we’ve made a mistake?

If the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

Will you call the town crier,

Will you call me a liar

Will you call god a fraud and a flake?

 

 

Will you summon a choir

To the widening gyre

Of the house that you chose to forsake?

 

If the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.

 

I’ll pick you up, and put you on my arm,

Pick you up, and put you on my arm

Like a charm,

Pick you up, and put you on my arm,

 

I’ll pick you up, and put you on my hip,

Pick you up, and put you on my hip

When you slip,

Pick you up, and put you on my hip,

 

I’ll pick you up, and put you on my neck,

Pick you up, and put you on my neck

Serve & protect,

Pick you up, and put you on my neck,

 

And if the world were on fire

You are what I’d take.