Elephant’s Storytelling

isbell - Copy

I’ve written before about song lyrics as poetry, and Elephant by Jason Isbell is certainly poetic, but it is the storytelling that is most affecting. It shouldn’t be divorced from its melody, and this is a superbly written song, but I share for that plaintive, heartfelt storyline:

She said Andy you’re better than your past
winked at me and drained her glass
cross-legged on the barstool, like nobody sits anymore.
She said Andy you’re taking me home
but I knew she planned to sleep alone
I’d carry her to bed and sweep up the hair from the floor.

If I had fucked her before she got sick
I’d never hear the end of it
she don’t have the spirit for that now.

We drink these drinks and laugh out loud
bitch about the weekend crowd
and try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow.

She said Andy you crack me up
Seagrams in a coffee cup
sharecropper eyes and her hair almost gone.
When she was drunk she made cancer jokes
she made up her own doctor’s notes
surrounded by her family I saw she was dying alone.

I’d sing her classic country songs
and she’d get high and sing along
she don’t have the voice to sing with now.

We’d burn these joints in effigy
cry about what we used to be
and try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow.

I buried her a thousand times
giving up my place in line
but I don’t give a damn about that now.

There’s one thing that’s real clear to me
no one dies with dignity
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow
somehow.

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