Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator

Setup

 

We were driving down to Austin with nothing left to talk about

We hadn’t seen a restaurant in eight hundred miles

 

I needed coffee and you gave a monologue

You talked my ear off and I tried to smile.

 

Oh how I loved how you talked

(how did I love how you talked)

 

we were a joke and I was the set up

you liked the buildup but I got fed up;

 

we were a joke and you were the punchline

your sense of humor is different from mine

 

Your grandma was friends with world famous outlaws

And your grandpa was a ranch-hand who never saw the sea

 

Their offspring were drunks and writers and cowards

Who ridiculed anyone who ever tried to leave

 

They make fun of your uncle, who went to New York City,

and gave birth to your cousin, the lawyer in Boston

 

I learned about his practice and his puppy and apartment

as we drove from Oklahoma overnight to Austin

 

Texas is bigger than anyone gives it credit for

and your mouth is bigger than anyone I know—

 

The words rolled on like the north Texas highway

eight hours behind me and eight left to go.