Jimmy

Jimmy worked all summer at the drive in selling tailgate liquor to boys with lacquered curls.
He was bad but not evil so he got along well with the Mexican girls.
Every night he’d write the name of a new Juanita  in the sand
but the only one gave it up to him was his empty hand.

O Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

Three months later he was in Vietnam buying beer and rubbers for girls with lacquered curls.
He had eyes like a woman so he got along well with the Boom Boom girls.
At night he sat in trenches shooting flares into the sky.
Back in Houston, other boys his age thought they would never die.

O Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

With a boy named Spider from Baton Rouge, he was on patrol.
There was an anger in the blood neither one of them tried hard to control.
They saw a crippled farmer plowing with a crippled buffalo.
Then they lifted their M-1’s and just let go.

O Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

Back in Houston it was night and the moon looked like a breast in space.
I had a pimple on my ear and was contemplating the ones on my face.
I was bored and skinny and I wanted to be the new Dylan, the new Reality.
Over campus a flare went up and I remembered Jimmy.

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

When the war was over for Jimmy, once we got together.
He was drinking real heavy and his face looked like boot leather.
I had grown up too and come home to Jesus.
Jimmy said once when some Cong had passed he felt the presence of the Lord
but it didn’t last.
Jimmy’s eyes were ditches where children had died.
I knew anything I said would be a lie
to Jimmy.

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

Forty years later I saw Jimmy under a bridge.
He was laughing with junkies and whores young enough to be
his kids.
Round his neck was a cross hung on a leather boot string.
Jimmy told me in those cardboard cathedrals he could hear
the angels sing.

O Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

There is a light in Jimmy’s eyes only the dead can see
a tattoo on his arm of a blue, faded infinity.
He says he’s been saved by the blood of a crippled man
and everything he lost has been found in his own empty hand.

Now the light in Jimmy’s eyes I can clearly see.
When I look into his face, I see what waits for me.
Everyone of us finds our own private Calvary
but when you climb down from that cross, then you’re truly free.

O Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy
O Jimmy

.

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