an adjunct prayer

It was four in the morning at a Motel 6 in the wilderness of the not-quite midwest. I was half-naked on my knees, holding a large chocolate bunny and nibbling at its ears. The wind was howling, at least I thought it was. In any event, my ears were full of a roaring sound I tried to ignore. I could see the snow swirling through the space between the drapes.  The college I taught my Tuesday morning class had already closed for tomorrow, but my evening class was 73 miles away and I wasn’t sure what the storm would do there, or if I could get there in time.

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath’s as hard as kerosene
You weren’t your mama’s only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

My girlfriend and I taught at two campuses in common. She has a pretty good gig in that she teaches six days week at two colleges and brings down nearly twenty-thousand dollars for the semester with less than 300 miles driving. I don’t do that well. I drive over twice that distance for six courses that don’t pay as well.

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

If not for income-based repayment, we would not be able to make it all. Between the two of us, we are on the hook for $290,000 in student loans. Thank God they are federal loans or else we would really be in a shitload of trouble.

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty’s livin’ in a cheap hotel
The desert’s quiet and Cleveland’s cold
So the story ends we’re told
Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he’s growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose

We talk about running away to somewhere warm. Out of reach of Sallie Mae and FedLoans. Save for the lack of water and a Whole Foods store, the Chihuahuan desert seems a good choice. Except while we have fluency in French, German, and Romansh, Spanish escapes us. Still, it is tempting.

Tonight we rock, Tonight we roll
We’ll rob the Juarez liquor store for the Reposado Gold
And if we drink ourselves to death, ain’t that the cowboy way to go?

Tonight we ride, tonight we ride
Tonight we fly, we’re headin’ west
Toward the mountains and the ocean where the eagle makes his nest
If our bones bleach on the desert, we’ll consider we are blessed
Tonight we ride, Tonight we ride

Tonight though I kneel, head bowed to circumstance, lost in communion with my chocolate Jesus that happens to be shaped like a bunny.

When the weather gets rough
And it’s whiskey in the shade
It’s best to wrap your savior
Up in cellophane
He flows like the big muddy
But that’s okay
Pour him over ice cream
For a nice parfait

Well it’s got to be a chocolate Jesus
Good enough for me
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Good enough for me

Lyric credits to:
Pancho and Lefty by Townes Van Zandt.

Tonight we Ride by Tom Russell

Chocolate Jesus by Tom Waits

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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