Monday, September 7, 2015

Johnny Longfellow


Handed down the line by granny
Came this tale she tol' to me,
'Bout a romance that got kindled
Back in '33.

Said, it started with a promise,
Then it ended with a kiss,
While the good stuff in the middle
Happ'ned jus' like this...

Harley Wheeler parked 'is Roadster
Up on ‘top o’ Lover’s Ledge,
Where the rollin’ fog 'n' moonlight
Mingled 'long the edge.

There, he got to breathin' heavy
Back inside ‘is rumble seat,
While he sniffed at Nelly's neckline
Smellin' oh so sweet.

Well, that is, until a stranger
Came a-creepin' in the dark
Up behind that starlit Plymouth,
Sittin' there in park.

Root-a-toot! he shot po' Harley...
Root-a-toot! he shot po' Nell’...
Then he rolled 'em both in neutral
Straight below to Hell.

Come the mornin' came the coroner,
Had 'imself a look aroun'
At that wreckage—like Gomorrah—
Smold'rin' on the groun'.

Now, he knew ol' lustful Harley,
Plus ol' Nell' in all 'er pride,
So he judged it—like 'is Lawd would—
Double suicide.

Nearer ev'nin' came the sheriff
Bearin' news at Harley's place,
Feelin' mighty 'fraid to gaze in
Widow Wheeler's face.

Well, that is, until her fingers
Tightly latched the farmhouse door,
While she turned 'er head, an' whispered,
“Here's jus' like I swore.”

Ooo, it started with a promise,
Then it ended with a kiss,
While the good stuff in the middle
Happ’ned jus' like this!

'Least that's how my granny'd tell it,
Though 'er mem'ry makes me think
How she’d always tweak that endin',
Givin’ folks a wink.

Johnny reads "True Romance":

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Johnny confesses: "'True Romance' is one of a string of murder ballads I’ve written, though this one in particular is meant to offer a direct nod to the oral tradition in which the ballad genre as a whole is rooted."

JOHNNY LONGFELLOW has served for nearly two decades as a mentor to Newburyport, MA high school students through the Poetry Soup reading program and print journal. His poetry has been previously featured at The Five-Two, and can also be found at other online venues such as The Barefoot Muse, Ppigpenn, and The Rotary Dial.

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