TWANG

My father went to Harvard.

My mother went there, too.

But when I graduated,

I didn’t have a clue.

I wouldn’t wait on tables

Or stand behind a bar,

But then I was inspired:

I had me uh guitar!

 

I never learned to play it—

Mel Bay just made me bored—

But I could sort of strum it

And maybe hit a chord.

I guess I’m almost tone-deaf,

And challenged vocally

Which didn’t really matter ‘cause

I only knew one key.

 

But—

You cain’t be sincere

If you don’t have a twang.

You’re nothin’ special

Without that thang.

Though your voice is smoky,

With a country tang,

You just cain’t be sincere

Without a twang.

 

I wasn’t clear on music—

Pop? Rock? Hiphop for me?

And then I found at Target

A cheap “Best of” CD.

I stuck it in the laptop

My parents once gave me

And, as I listened to it, well,

The rest is history.

 

The words were formulaic,

All broken hearts and drink

And set to just one melody

So you didn’t have to think.

I wrote songs in the bathroom

And thought I’d got the hang,

But there was something missing—

Could it be I’d need a twang?

 

‘Cause

You cain’t be sincere

If you don’t have a twang.

You’re nothin’ special

Without that thang.

Though your voice is smoky

With a country tang,

You just cain’t be sincere

Without a twang.

 

 

I’d bought a big ol’ cowboy hat

Though I come from Boston, Mass.

I’d bought the boots, I’d worn the jeans,

But somehow didn’t pass.

I rewrote my biography

So I grew up in the sticks,

And was raised on country music

By my parents, classic hicks.

 

But I fell into depression

And life became the pits

Because, although on YouTube,

I got barely twenty hits.

Then inspiration came again

Like a little bell that rang:

“You sound too much like city folk—

You really need a twang.”

 

‘Cause

You cain’t be sincere

If you don’t have a twang.

You’re nothin’ special

Without that thang.

Though your voice is smoky,

With a country tang,

You just cain’t be sincere

Without a twang.

 

 

So now I shake my uvula

And look at me: a star!

But still I sound like Harvard

When I talk on NPR.

Yet it don’t matter hardly

If I mix my “brought” and “brang”:

And I’m a country legend millionaire

Because I have that twang.

 

So—

You cain’t be sincere

Without that twang.

And you’ll never sell downloads

Without that thang.

Though your voice is smoky

With a country tang,

You just cain’t be sincere

I hope I’ve made that clear?

Without that twang.

 

 

 

 

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