born in Tallahassee and the Bronx
are strolling the Nashville night;
‘gangsters’ with guitars and songs about
love and loss and joy and redemption;
singers and composers, one song away
from the winking lights, the deal,
the girls, the white powder and the glory.
They did not see that awful clip of Johnny:
one last song, one last performance.
He sat and sang and his heart sank with his voice;
his song croaks, old liquor and regret.
This is what they want; a shot at the top,
to be the man before the prisoners,
singin’ and stompin’ and winkin’.