The Burlington Northern Railroad

4 Jan

back when I was seven, before we lived in the city
mama went with a man who worked on the railroad
had a beard like a grizzly, long hair like a hippie, I remember all the stories he told
Michael was a brakeman for the Burlington Northern, mama she loved him just the same
he spoke the laymen’s wisdom, that you learn living out in the County
told me working trains for a living, well, that’s okay

told me about how alcohol was evil as he was sipping on a bottle of booze
told me about how a man could send a message, said go for it boy, you got nothing to lose
I think he’ll live to be very old, the nights are long, they work till dawn
on the Burlington Railroad, lord help him find a pot of gold
the nights are long, he’s still working on the Burlington Railroad

he’d take me out to go fishing in the Northwest weather, all morning, fishing a rain-dropped lake
we’d just sit there whistling, drive out down by the river, either way we’d fish all we could take
one time he got to talking he said I know you ain’t got no father, but there’s nothing you can do about it now,
said your mama don’t listen to old time rock and roll no more,
so i’m gonna teach you ’cause you got to learn it somehow,

so he sang me Johnny B. Goode all the way home,
sang me all shook up and don’t be cruel,
told me that’s how a man could send a message,
if you’re wise enough to never play the fool

I remember the night I walked in and saw him packing, I asked him could he find a way to stay
it didn’t seem right to me for him to be leaving, he said boy you’ll understand all this someday
so I tried to forget him for a long time and everything he taught me up to that night
but I have learned sometimes a mans just got to get leaving
and I remember Michael now ’cause he was right

he was right he was right to play my father, if just for a moment,
he was right to go when he had to go,
he was right about how a man could send a message,
it’s funny, some things you find you already know

©1990-2010brent david fraser, all rights reserved

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