The Fracks of Life

Pa came home from work one night

To a terrifying sight:

His whole driveway was now a deep ravine

And, where used to be a shed

Was an open pit instead

And the deepest one that he had ever seen.

 

“Land o’ Goshen! Shouted Pa

As he looked around for Ma,

But his heart was heavy with an awful dread

‘cause the only standing proof

Of his house was just the roof

And it now was shingling for a ditch, instead.

And then he heard this voice inside his head:

 

“If you see a giant crack

In your yard, just stand on back:

It’s us fracking folk who’re tearing up your soil.

Though your lawn seems to be reeling,

You won’t mind that sinking feeling

When you see that every hole is filled with oil!”

 

“Is it gophers?” Then he thought,

“or some prairie dogs who ought

To be digging somewhere south of Laramie?

But the digging’s not erratic—

It seems far too systematic—

But what it is, I really cannot see!”

 

Then up drove a limousine

Just the biggest he had seen

And out popped a business man who smiled to say

As he stretched out one ringed hand,

“Thanks so much for all your land!

And, besides, you’re helping save the USA.

And, moreoever, there’s the matter of your pay—“

And the voice inside Pa’s head had this to say:

 

“If you see a giant crack

In your yard, just stand on back.

It’s us fracking folk who’re tearing up your yard.

Though your lawn seems to be reeling,

You won’t mind that sinking feeling

When you see that every hole is full of oil!”

 

Pa then shook his head and stared

And he wondered if he dared

Use his shotgun (if he’d find it in that hole).

“If this is saving, look what’s lost

And your pay’s not worth the cost:

This is just as bad as strip-mining for coal!”

 

But the man just gave a grin,

“All the loss is yours—I win!

And it’s only you who has the awful fate

To live in this hole-y hell

On a shifting shale oil well

Since my house is in a far-off northern state.”

And that voice once more had this fact to relate:

 

“If you see a giant crack

In your yard, just stand on back.

It’s us fracking folk who’re tearing up your soil.

Though your lawn seems to be reeling,

You won’t mind that sinking feeling

When you see that every hole is full of oil!”

 

Then Pa heard the man to say

As his limo roared away

“Hey—there’s something that you’d best now think to do:

To get the oil we reap,

There’s a little chemical seep,

So I’d stick to drinking beer, if I were you!

 

But if you see a little crack

In your yard—just stand on back.

It’s us fracking folk who’re tearing up your soil.

And if it adds to your daily woes,

That’s no skin off of our nose

‘cause we live far off from anything we spoil

While we get so rich from sucking up the oil.”

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.