glimpses at poets and pubs dubbed underground

Friday, June 11, 2010

i can't write left handed

came across this wow vid of Bill Withers, known for Ain't No Sunshine, and thot it was a hella poem. according to wiki : Withers worked as an assembler for several different companies, including Douglas Aircraft Corporation, while recording demo tapes with his own money, shopping them around and performing in clubs at night. When he debuted with the song "Ain't No Sunshine" he refused to resign his job because of his belief that the music business was a fickle industry and that he was still a novice compared to other acts.

Withers went on to win three Grammies for Best R&B Song: Ain't No Sunshine (1971), Just the Two of Us (1981), and Lean On Me (1987). In 2007 he was inducted into West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

for readers who haven't speakers, this is the transcription:

"(We recorded this song on October the 6th).
Since then the war's been declared over.
If you're like me you'll remember it
like anybody remembers any war; one big drag.

Lot of people write songs about wars and government...
very social things.
But i think about young guys who were like
i was when i was young. I had no more idea about any government,
or political things or anything. And i think about those kind
of young guys now who all of a sudden somebody comes up,
and they're very law-abiding, so if somebody says go
they don't ask any questions they just go. And i can remember
not too long ago seeing a young guy with his right arm gone.
Just got back. And i asked him how he was doing.

He said he was doing alright now but he had thought he was gonna die. He said getting shot at didn't bother him, it was getting shot that shook him up. And i tried to put myself in his position. Maybe he cried, maybe he said...

I can't write left -handed.
Would you please write a letter to my mother,
tell her to tell the family lawyer, try to get
a deferment for my younger brother. Tell the
Reverend Harris to pray for me, Lawd.
I aint gonna live to get much older.

Strange little man over here in Vietnam
I aint never seen, bless his heart, I ain't
never done nothin' to
just shot me in the shoulder.

Bootcamp we had classes. You know we talked about fighting everyday.
And looking thru rosy, rosy colored glasses, I must admit it seemed exciting, in a way. But something that they overlooked to tell me, Lord, bullets look your way, brother, when they are coming at you.

(Go home out the other way.)

And please call up the Reverend Harris, and tell him ask the Lord to do some good things for me. Tell him I ain't gonna live to get much older.

Strange little man
over here in Vietnam
I ain't never seen,
bless his heart, I ain't
done nothing to,
done shot me in my shoulder."



  1. i'm so depressed i'm not an undie you love. i love you! but what are the means to your love? maybe i'm not undie enuff? i'm down most of the time. it's not cool to love your own undies, but i an an undie i love. i'm a poetpub&stuff.

  2. okay i give up. no, i never lived in cleveburg, and the one and only real shot i had was sunk by a graduate of the iowa school for creative wretreads. sorry, redo: my one and only real shot (to be a professor at cleve state) was sunk by my own lack of professionalization in the context of an interview by tribunal. help me, green panda obi, you're my only hope. help me, obi wan kentucky, you're our only hope. I am sending these two droids.