"Benny"

Benny said he’s ready to be a real man
Ready for the bars and the women
Yeah he’s got a gun in his hand
Gonna kill his old man and hit the road running
Well he’s just seventeen but he knows the routine
Yeah his daddy taught him well with a bottle and a belt
Oh this town can go to hell

But things never go like planned
And his momma interfered and he couldn’t think through his sister’s tears
Thinking back it was never so clear
But he could see by the blood on his jeans that
He wasn’t dreaming when he heard those screams
And he said, “How could they defend him?” and
“How could they pretend to love the hand that strikes them?” and
“How can the ones you love ask you to take back an act of justice?
Isn’t it justice that makes us human anyway?”

Well now Benny’s on the run, the first degree, a loaded gun
And his high school picture poster’s at the deli and the grocer's
In every town he goes
So he grows a beard and he shaves his head
And he says “Young Benny’s dead
But he don’t get no service. Oh, that kid don’t deserve it. I’m a real man now”

“Yeah my life’s in my own hand
My own feet to stand on
My old beat been long gone
Got street smart and head strong
And it beats getting old
In the town where you’re told
That you’re gonna be nothing
You’re gonna be nothing”

Got some cash from the odd job
And stickups and stores robbed
And TVs car batteries
He didn’t have to beg, he didn’t have to bleed
He took what he needed and he called that free.
But the crimes caught up
And the time he bought by running
Got to feel like next to nothing,
But nothing could drown that feeling
With the weight of a history of misery
In the break of a wave of memory
Was it better to be a public enemy?

With his life in his own hand
His own feet to stand on
His old beat been long gone
got street smart and head strong
and it beats getting old
In the town where you’re told
That you’re gonna be nothing
You’re gonna be nothing”

So with his face in the papers
The cash in his pocket couldn’t get a man nowhere
But everyone knows him
And he’s finally someone
Benny got what he wanted
Benny stopped trying to run
So everyone looks at the man with the gun
And everyone listens to the man with the gun
What does he do now that everyone’s listening
And he’s holed up and surrounded on live television?
He says: How can a fire burn on forever?
How can you cry with a man that knew better?
Well my body may try to extinguish the embers
But I can’t really die if it’s me you remember

Benny said he’s ready to be a real man
Ready for the bars and the women

 

©2005 Nicholas Hohman