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Passions in Poetry

The Honky Tonk Piano Man From Memphis, Tennessee

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Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


0 posted 10-11-1999 12:04 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I wound up in that little town just by pure chance that night,
A tiny spot down Dixie way where folks still treat you right.
I emptied out the camper of the products that I sell
Then settled for a night's sleep in a nondescript motel.

While finishing my toiletries, I thought I would, instead
Go down to have a nice cold beer before I went to bed.
I got directions from the clerk to find the local bar,
Deciding I would walk there since it wasn't very far.

When I was still a block away, I heard a wonderous sound
That sent my spirits skyward and then gently brought them down.
Piano chords, the likes of which I hadn't heard in years
Were flowing from that tavern with its buck-a-bottle beers.

Piano was my passion. I had studied with the best
But, in the end, I lacked the skills to pass the final test.
My passions did not dwindle, though. I still smiled with delight
Whenever I heard sounds produced such as the ones that night.

I entered through the side door and I mingled with the crowd.
Inside the music seemed to be ridiculously loud.
As I had passed the doorway, there had been a small marquee,
THE HONKY TONK PIANO MAN FROM MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE.

Two guitar pickers were on stage - a fiddle player, too,
A drummer so darned small he almost disappeared from view,
And, right up front at center stage, for all the crowd to see...
The honky tonk piano man from Memphis, Tennessee.

His fingers flew like lightning, gliding up and down the keys.
The toughest hand manipulations he performed with ease
And, all the while, a big smile grew and shot from ear to ear.
He waved out to the rowdy crowd and chuckled at their cheer.

I sat, in abject fascination, watching as he played,
My senses overloaded at the talent he displayed.
Yet he performed as though it were a simple thing to do.
My head was getting dizzy at the way his fingers flew.

Then, as I watched, it hit me. I had seen those hands before!
Performing off in London - Copenhagen - Singapore!
This man had been the great pianist Johnathon LeGree,
This honky tonk piano man from Memphis, Tennessee.

LeGree had been the best there was, receiving great acclaim.
His destiny had been assured, as had his wealth and fame.
But then, one day, he walked away and disappeared from sight
To show up in this tavern playing honky tonk at night.

The evening show now ended and I saw him in the crowd.
They clapped his back and mussed his hair and called his name out loud.
A waitress handed him a box of chicken - southern fried.
I hurried to catch up to him and followed him outside.

He sauntered to a pick-up truck. I called, "Mr. Legree!"
He smiled and said, "I see my past is catching up with me.
You wonder what I'm doing here - why I am not the rage
Of Europe and America, up there on center stage."

"Well, yes", I stammered nervously. "I mean, you had it all.
Your star rose like a meteor and then you let it fall.
How could you let it slip away is what I can't digest.
Of all the masters of the keys, you were considered best."

"I had it all? I still do, son." He smiled quite happily.
"I've got my truck. I've got my friends and got my family.
I've got my music every night to keep me nice and warm.
I love to play piano. I just don't like to perform."

"So tell the tails and bluehairs that old Johnny says hello.
I'd like to keep on talking but I really have to go.
The chicken's getting cold. My wife is waiting up, you see,
But, friend," he smiled, "I thank you much for recognizing me."

With those last words he smiled and climbed up in his pick-up truck
And, as he pulled away, I heard him say he wished me luck.
I watched the best pianist in the world drive round the bend
And, as the headlights disappeared, I said, "You, too, my friend."

I do get asked quite frequently who I think is the best
Of all the great pianists, who is better than the rest.
They always think I'm joking when I answer, smilingly,
A honky tonk piano man in Memphis, Tennessee.
© Copyright 1999 Michael Mack - All Rights Reserved
Nan
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since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


1 posted 10-11-1999 12:23 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

You know, M&M - I truly enjoy your witty ditty's and seeing you go bag Toerag - and vice, versa......
But I really love seeing you write seriously. You always have a wonderful story that brings home an equally relevant lesson for living......
Awesome work, Deer
Julie
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since 08-20-99
Posts 742
Houston, TX


2 posted 10-11-1999 12:24 AM       View Profile for Julie   Email Julie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Julie

BRAVO! BRAVO! Balladeer. This was wonderful!

Couldn't resist....I have a question...on the fourth line I believe you may have a typo? Is it..."settling down for a night's sleep" or nice sheep..."in a nondescript motel?

Just couldn't pass that one up...
Mike
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since 06-19-99
Posts 2528


3 posted 10-11-1999 12:26 AM       View Profile for Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mike

Bravo!
Michael
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Member Ascendant
since 08-13-99
Posts 6333
California


4 posted 10-11-1999 12:34 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

Ditto Nan's statement, Balladeer. It is a true honor to read works such as these. Works that could only be penned by you.

------------------
Michael Anderson

When God puts a tear in your eye,
He puts a rainbow in your heart.


Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


5 posted 10-11-1999 12:38 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Julie, your comment is not appreciated.
Lucie
Senior Member
since 06-20-99
Posts 1123
Houston


6 posted 10-11-1999 12:40 AM       View Profile for Lucie   Email Lucie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lucie











Gosh Thanks Balladeer.. I needed that!!!

[This message has been edited by Lucie (edited 10-11-1999).]

[This message has been edited by Lucie (edited 10-11-1999).]
Severn
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273


7 posted 10-11-1999 12:47 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

You are a master of words. That's all I can say!
Sally S.
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since 06-07-99
Posts 887
Ohio


8 posted 10-11-1999 12:51 AM       View Profile for Sally S.   Email Sally S.   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sally S.

Well, I was going to smile and tell you how much I admire your talents....I was beaten to the punch. (Especially the smiles.... )
Besides, you know how I feel..so, there you go!
LngJhnAg
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since 07-23-99
Posts 3654
Boot+Kitty=Poetry in motion


9 posted 10-11-1999 12:57 AM       View Profile for LngJhnAg   Email LngJhnAg   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LngJhnAg

'Deer - simply superb. And those jokes about sheep? I don't believe a one of them. This was a fine poem, written in the style of the master. I really enjoy your stories, Mike. I find myself flowing from line to line, totally enraptured by the story, without even thinking of the rhyme. This was another of your many classics. I sure hope Lorelei and I get down to your part of Florida.

[This message has been edited by LngJhnAg (edited 10-11-1999).]
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


10 posted 10-11-1999 01:01 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Again, you show us the power of words. Amazing, simply amazing. I've missed reading this kind of poetry from you! Thank you for this.
John Yaws
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since 10-09-1999
Posts 865
Texas


11 posted 10-11-1999 01:09 AM       View Profile for John Yaws   Email John Yaws   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit John Yaws's Home Page   View IP for John Yaws

Balladeer,
The nick fits you well:

I doff my hat and lift a glass-
A toast to work sublime-
A master, and a craftsman
When it comes to writing rhyme.
I feign would duck my head in shame
And slither out of sight
If one should say I'd met my match
I say, That isn't right.
I've tried my hand for many years
But one thing stands out clear
I've met my Master in the one
They call the Balladeer.

------------------
~GS~
hoot_owl_rn
Member Patricius
since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


12 posted 10-11-1999 01:14 AM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

You are a master story teller Balladeer....thanks for the read
Christopher
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Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


13 posted 10-11-1999 01:15 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Balladeer.
I echo all the praise from above. The ending on this one gave me a cold chill and a wistful smile. Masterfully told sir. This is one that goes in my ever growing "Balladeer Archive." (didn't know I had one huh? I do)
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


14 posted 10-11-1999 02:24 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, Mikes and Nan.
Lucie...my monitor looks like a billboard! It's great. Thank you.
Severn, that's all you need to say. Thank you.
Sally..yes, I know..and I appreciate it.
LongJohn, thanks for the nice words and be assured that, when you do make it down, you have a place to stay. Count on it.
Poet DeVine....I've missed writing them. Time to get back to basics. Thanks for your words.
Gunslinger...I've read everything you've posted since you rode into town. I'd be happy to be considered your equal.
Hoot...I always appreciate your comment.
Christopher...we may have a psychic connection. I felt a chill when I wrote that last stanza. I thank you warmly for your kind words.
Kelly
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since 07-03-99
Posts 153


15 posted 10-11-1999 02:46 AM       View Profile for Kelly   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kelly

I love it. Every night I always check to see if you've left us one of your grand stories.......Thanks. I'm never disappointed when it's found.
Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


16 posted 10-11-1999 09:31 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Geez, I have to work on Mondays! See what I miss for going to bed early on Sundays? Great stuff, 'Deer - and I must reiterate some others, I love your ballads more than your "back-at-'ems" which are hilarious, but the pieces like this always make one think! Thank you again, Sir!

------------------
Sunshine
Look, then, into thine heart, and write ~~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Toerag
Member Ascendant
since 07-29-99
Posts 5839
Ala bam a


17 posted 10-11-1999 09:59 AM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

Well Mr. BugKiller...ya done good again..as usual....Very good job pal!
Poet deVine
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since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


18 posted 10-11-1999 01:13 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

This needs to be at the top a bit longer!
Martie
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since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


19 posted 10-11-1999 02:14 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I fell into your words and was trapped in Tennessee, with a great piano player
and a poet of the first degree.
Seymour Tabin
Member Empyrean
since 07-07-99
Posts 32119
Tamarac Fla


20 posted 10-11-1999 02:19 PM       View Profile for Seymour Tabin   Email Seymour Tabin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seymour Tabin

Balladeer,
Well this only conferms what I always said.
And you know what I always said.
Happy to see you writing again.
Pepper
Member Elite
since 08-19-99
Posts 3134
Southern Florida

Official Passions Reader
21 posted 10-11-1999 05:01 PM       View Profile for Pepper   Email Pepper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pepper

applaud you Sir!!!!

------------------

May your days be filled with lots of sunshine and your nights lit up by golden moonbeams
RainbowGirl
Member Elite
since 07-31-99
Posts 3167
United Kingdom


22 posted 10-11-1999 05:21 PM       View Profile for RainbowGirl   Email RainbowGirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit RainbowGirl's Home Page   View IP for RainbowGirl

Yikes...10 minutes to get access to read this, but was worth it..:-)

HUSG

------------------
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Denise
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since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


23 posted 10-11-1999 07:57 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Another 'classic'. Thank you so much, Balladeer! It's always a pleasure!

------------------
Denise
suthern
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Posts 20770
on the threshold of a dream


24 posted 10-11-1999 08:33 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

Simply superb!
 
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