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Local Business

from Forever Only Idaho by Harrison Lemke

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    A shiny screen-printed CD in a 6-panel card case with exclusive artwork and a prose poem sort of thing in the way of liner notes. Look at it and think of the cool waters and monolithic pines of scenic North Idaho.

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In town for the weekend,
wedding of a former friend,
and everything has changed again.
The stores and bars on Sherman
look just like Portland or Brooklyn;
it's all been rearranged again.

It's a dirty tourist trap.
It'll never love you back.

Front page of the local press
sings hymns to local business:
sell whatever isn't nailed down.
And the guy at the hotel bar
still talks about the time he met a movie star
right here, in our own town.

They'll bruise you blue and black,
but they're never gonna love you back.

Granddad worked in a factory
(or was it a fishery?)
and saved up every penny that he earned,
but to want a captive audience
and to be someone of consequence
is the only trade you ever learned.

And they'll tear your ticket in half,
but they're never gonna love you back.

And no one seems to know what to make of
the thing they exist for the sake of
and spin around like dim and dying worlds:
the resort at the center,
like a holy place no one dares to enter
but the priests with their attendants and their pearls.

It's a dirty trick at that:
a god who'll never love you back.

It breaks your heart
to see them lean in at the door
to catch some dying strain
of what they're living for.

Dusk falling on the empty pier.
Hotel lit up like a chandelier.
Bitter lake-sand smell, a jagged line of evergreen,
as out of reach as the memory
of the place when you were seventeen
and still in love with everyone and everything.

The water is beautiful and black,
but it'll never love you back.


from Forever Only Idaho, released March 19, 2021
Harrison Lemke — electric guitars, tambourine, vocals.
Marc Barnes — drums.
Michael Gossett — tenor saxophone.
Caleb Knorr — piano.
Albert Macre — trumpet.
Daniel Merritt — bass guitar, tenor saxophone.


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Harrison Lemke Austin, Texas

tape-hiss symphonies to God

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