Two Pontiacs – Tom and Lyle

Reid Dickie

A pair of inspired and inspiring short stories from two masters of the territory. The first one is Tom Waits with an improv yarn complete with context, audience and story arc called The Pontiac. It’s from his Orphans triple CD set.  Click the cover and Tom will expound for you. Lovely!

For sheer spookiness and concise yet ambiguous visions, it is hard to beat a tune from Lyle Lovett called Pontiac, the title tune from his second album released in 1987. Lyle evokes a remarkable story in a mere 108 words! And here they are:

PONTIAC

 I park my Pontiac
Down the hill out in back
Late every afternoon
With a coke and a cigarette
And all of the neighbours there
They see a nice old man

And the girl there across the street
She sits on her front porch swing
She never realized
What I told her with my eyes
How back in the second war
I killed twenty German boys
With my own bare hands

And the woman inside my house
She won’t stop talking
She never says a thing
She just keeps talking
And I might just leave her still
After the sun goes down
And I smoke this cigarette

Basically it’s an old man’s well-encapsulated lifestory but we sense his story isn’t over yet. Ominously he hints that the next chapter might suddenly include silence in the house, perfect permanent silence. This pivots on the various meanings of the phrase, “leave her still.” He has killed before with “his own bare hands.” We are left to imagine what will happen after the sun goes down and he finishes his cigarette. This would make a fine story for a movie in the right writer’s hands. Now watch Lyle’s video of his great song.

4 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Images, Music, Old Souls, Spirit

4 responses to “Two Pontiacs – Tom and Lyle

  1. always loved this song thanks for making me read the lyrics again…

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