How We Got Our Names

   Our names came out of the radio.  Marty for Marty

Robbins, Lynn for Loretta.  Gene for Gene Autry,

Hank for half a dozen Hanks who sank into bourbon.

When the windows were raised in spring, crickets

chimed in like Byrd’s steel backing up Ernest Tubb. 

Grandma swore if Ernest ever stepped out of the TV set

she’d waltz across Texas with him, but she was

stretching the wool because she’d never leave

Jasper who couldn’t hit a flat note with a good hammer. 

   You can shimmy up this family tree and find

a dozen Earls and Lesters, and Kitty or Norma Jean

singing you into a honkytonk heaven.  Who hadn’t

rather drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log,

or be blind as Ray Charles and eat up with music? 

Faron and Ray Price, smooth as good southern whiskey.

Aunt Patsy couldn’t hit a note if it was her ticket to heaven;

she was crazy and Willie’s “Walls” couldn’t hold her.

Uncle Johnny was J.R. Cash and he looked all over Doodle Hill

for one of Mother Maybelle’s daughters, but he took up with

one of the Hill girls in a tater-ridge necklace and cockroach stockings. 

   There won’t no blue suede shoes or Buddy Holly rock-a-billy,

just Doodle Hill stomp, Sears and Roebuck mail order

flat top guitars, Uncle Fred’s cigar box full of juice harps.

It was porch sitting, moonshine sipping, calling the roll of the Opry

wanting the glitter of Porter’s suits, pistols off Webb Pierce’s Pontiac. 

It was sad and somber, the comers and goers named for the greats

that wept out of the Saturday night radio.  

Competition Information

Former PWG Competition winners

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