Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator

Shorebird

 

My first home was paradise

Halfway between the sea and Eden

I never needed your advice

Just the words that I was reading

 

That’s the lift that leisure gives

With a thousand bullets in the breech

You can live and can let live

You can sleep on an ash-white beach

 

My first friend was a shorebird

I’m gonna pay it forward

I’m gonna pay it forward sometime

 

So I drew a bead on imagined gulls

Drew the blood meridian

Drew in charcoal crossbone skulls

Drew the life quotidian.

 

Pay it all forward farther

I’m gonna be a father

I’m gonna be a father sometime

 

Pay it all forward smarter

I’m gonna be a martyr

I’m gonna be a martyr sometime

 

Of all the children I beget

I expect them to be great

Now we’ve got the internet

So we don’t need the interstate

 

And although I am my father’s son

I never fired his six-shooter

I learned the workings of a gun

From a diagram on the computer

 

Where is the Wild West now boy

You should have been a cowboy

You should have been a cowboy sometime

 

But the coast was sold to a wealthy buyer

The demolition staked with Dayglo

The sun is hot as pistol fire

And it can’t tell a target from a halo

 

I could wear a Kevlar vest

But it wouldn’t make me a better fighter

Or I could build a barbed wire nest

And sit in there and be a writer

 

We’re headed for disaster

Somebody call the pastor

Somebody call the pastor sometime

 

Pay it all forward faster

We’re headed for disaster

We’re headed for disaster sometime

 

So I came along and staked my share

But I’m nothing more than a short-term squatter

It’s getting crowded everywhere  

We’re running short on food and water

 

My faucet starts to sputter

I’m gonna die in a gutter 

I’m gonna die in a gutter sometime

 

It’s not that I’m a pessimist

Or that I’ve lost faith in god

But all the elders kids have kissed  

Are an inadvertent firing squad

 

They burnt down the old cliché

The hallmark image of the phoenix

But its counterpart in the present day

Is the letterpress of the double helix

 

You’re gonna bring your matches

We’re gonna turn to ashes 

We’re gonna turn into ashes sometime

 

Lift up the safety latches

We’re gonna turn into ashes

We’re gonna turn into ashes sometime

 

They said it’s not the smartest

I’m gonna be an artist

I’m gonna be an artist sometime

           

           My first friend was a shorebird

            I’m gonna pay it forward

            I’m gonna pay it forward sometime