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George Riser


When I first knew George in Washington D.C. in the 1980s, he was in a band called Secret Mammals.  In between bands and writing songs he has written novels.  Now he works in a library and plays in and writes for a band called The Pones.  The last of the three songs below was written with a nod to Wallace Stevens.




                                                                               --George Riser

See that man, he dressed so fine,
He ain’t got a nickel to scratch his dime.
But he holler at the woman…like he a king or something.
And he walk through the town…put his suitcase down.
Hollow Rounds.

Hot dusty town with the sun up high,
People sitting in the shade watch the little boy cry.
His daddy takes his arm and carries him away.
And the folks take note…of how the lawyer votes.
Hollow Rounds. 

Town in color, but it looks black and white.
Jim Crow counting every vote in sight.
And the Saturday crowd…walking into town.
And the man on the porch, fingers the cross he’ll torch.
Hollow Rounds.

Faulkner’s ghost and a whiskey kiss,
Blowing through the town like a cold gray mist.
He knows their troubles, he knows their pain.
And he knows that town and the hollow rounds,
Hollow Rounds.




                                                        --George Riser

Come meet me in the morning, she said, and I wont be there.
Cause the sun comes thru the window, and lays across your hair.
Car door slams, footsteps on the walk, inside the great divide.
And Mexico is better than suicide.

Man sleeps in the alley, a boy by his side,
And hoe and a shovel lay crossed at their feet,
As the centuries, they pass by,
And the sun comes over the rooftops and its time for them to rise,
And Mexico is better than suicide.

Congregation gathers, to sing its praise of death,
And its an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, When you were drawing your last breath.
And they’re singing hosannas so loud that you just might hear em from the other side,
And Mexico is better than suicide.





                        --George Riser

Rolling clouds—across the sky,
Move shadows move—The earth just sighs,
The Rolling Clouds, the wheat fields bow,

And the darkness comes, and we lose our way
And the sun goes down, on another day.

Water flows, deep underground,
From far off mountains, to the sound,
Of infinity, that we believe.
Our last reprieve.
And the darkness falls, along the way,
And the sun goes down, on another day.

The old brown hen,
The old blue sky,
Between the two, we live and die,
We live and die.
And the darkness falls in its whispered way,
And the sun goes down on another day.