No Roots

Copyright 1996, Guy Smith, All Rights Reserved

Stranded in the Denver airport, on a cold October night
Killin’ time with double shots while waitin’ for a snow bound westward flight
Beat senseless from makin’ business, burned out from all this travels
Don’t know if I love this life I lead, or if I’m all about to unravel

Got my Stetson cocked back on my head, my boots pegged on a second chair
See a three piece drunk at the end of the bar, I ignore his bloodshot stares
And the silk draped redhead, she floats like a Southern Comfort dream
But she struts off to Memphis while the Bay calls out to me

I’m one of the high tech homeless, a silicon vagabond
When your life has no root left, you just keep on keepin’ on

Well, the ticket agent is about as friendly as a machine-gun serenade
As I hand her my travel tales woes, and attempt to negotiate a trade
But I finally give in, take my seat, and wait my turn to fly
Condemned to this purgatory of innocents bystanders that they call standby

The loudspeaker blares through fluorescent haze, as the slide-way rumbles past
And my life for a moment seems to be going nowhere God-damned fast
Then the devil himself announces that there will be another long delay
Just three more hours, three more hours, and I’ll be on my way

I’d trade it all in for a place to think of as my home
But when your life has no roots left, you just keep on keepin’ on

The boarding call cuts through the fog that I now call my mind
I heft by bags to my shoulder and stumble into a ragged little line
I’m trapped between screaming children, and we’re trapped on this cattle car with wings
And I’m haunted by my sleepless nightmares, and my once fulfilled dreams

But through the night, through the high clouds I can see down below
A warm suburban nocturne of tiny houses in neat little rows
Where sleep the quite desperate in their middle American dreams
And for a moment I find myself wishing, wishing that I was one of them

To be happily trapped in contentment, with a family of my own
But when your life has roots left, you just keep on keepin’ on

The Story:

I started writing this song on the back of a wet cocktail napkin in Pecos Jacks Bar and Grill in the Denver International Airport on a Halloween night.

I was on a failed business trip, my first major one in a new job, in a new city, in a new state, in a new industry, and together in a new state of blue. Aside from all these estrangements, I was the lone Stetson and Tony Lama wearing fellow in the terminal, and dismayed by how little real life existed in that particular corner of hell. As if a few shots of Jack Daniels had not already subdued my mood, the announcement that the first major snowstorm of the season was delaying all flights for a few hours pushed it six feet lower.

Oh, and all this was occurring after a recent divorce.

What else does a fellow do in these circumstance but write a song?

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