The Ballad o’ Billy Bob by Johnny Longfellow

The Ballad o’ Billy Bob

Once Billy Bob ‘d been to war
. . . . . . . .He up ’n’ went right back.
See, nothin’ mattered much no more
Once Billy Bob ‘d been to war.
He’d say times can’t be like before
. . . . . . . .‘Is time spent in I-raq.
Once Billy Bob ‘d been to war
. . . . . . . .He up ’n’ went right back.

Belinda loved ol’ Billy Bob
. . . . . . . .An’ said she’d be ‘is wife.
Before she met that a-hole, Rob,
Belinda loved ol’ Billy Bob.
But, he was jus’ a workin’ slob
. . . . . . . .Who’d picked a soldier’s life.
Belinda loved ol’ Billy Bob
. . . . . . . .An’ said she’d be ‘is wife.

Each night he tried to fall asleep
. . . . . . . .Po’ Billy Bob ‘d dream:
There’d be these A-rabs herdin’ sheep
Each night he tried to fall asleep—
Then, “Waaaaaa!” these babies all ‘d weep;
. . . . . . . .Their mommas all ‘d scream . . .
Each night he tried to fall asleep
. . . . . . . .Po’ Billy Bob ‘d dream.

When Billy Bob was back again
. . . . . . . .He swore, “What’s done is done.”
An’ one dark night—jus’ after 10—
When Billy Bob was back again,
He burned Belinda’s letters, then
. . . . . . . .He cleaned ‘n’ cocked ‘is gun.
When Billy Bob was back again
. . . . . . . .He swore, “What’s done is done . . .”

As Billy Bob was laid to rest
. . . . . . . .The townfolk called ‘im brave.
Belinda wore ‘er Sunday best
As Billy Bob was laid to rest . . .
She stood there—like their daughter—dressed
. . . . . . . .In black beside ‘is grave.
As Billy Bob was laid to rest
. . . . . . . .The townfolk called ‘im brave.

by Johnny Longfellow, first published in Stepping Stones Magazine.

Johnny on Twitter: @BAD_ACID_LABS

Editor’s note: This ballad’s consistent meter carries the narrative from grim verse into the realm of a blues song.