Open your shirt and feel the muggy haul of bayou summer Louisiana, of Tennessee terrapins poking black turtle skulls rippling above slime water, where a Confederate boy, 18 and from Memphis, fell to death escaping capture, gray billowing shirt and a hole where his heart once was, a lead ball resting hot near his spine.

But now it's the noon shift girl gas station girl, dyed white blonde hair, scarecrow hair, with stubby fingers, behind the counter, nail filing, intent! Hollow-cheeked and ragged from her big night on speed and Jameson with the girls, her 16th birthday, no love just wide-eyed and cranked, still awake and shivering. Thirty hours no sleep, smarter than anyone in her city, in her state, but no use. She takes your money and gives you change and shakes her head as you walk out.

Stare into thick of trees, of chigger bites and wood ticks brown on white skin, of black culvert run crick, of Baton Rouge roadside motel or New Orleans honk ronked in Bourbon bone street, Southern Decadence, skulled eyes of Louisiana marsh and grasshopper skipping, palmetto bugs in the weeds, bridges sloping over murked swamp water, the I-95 North pulling towards Jacksonville.

"Room for three. Two beds please. What? Oh, nonsmoking, smoking, doesn't matter."

She and Rob wait in the car. Rob your great surrealist writer friend, crazy guy, hard drinker, lover of life but having trouble with living—his season in hell now and cooking hard. Along for the ride, Rob, of Iranian descent and brooding prince of princes eyes. Rob, with whom you eat stuffed grape leaves from a can and laugh at Right Wing billboards.

You have driven across the big raw divide, San Diego to Deep South and a million laughs there in between. She and Rob are looking out towards the lobby at you with faces like sparrows, hopeful.

The desk clerk gives you a discount, saying, "You came at the right time ... Arnold just got done talking." The Republican National Convention telecast blasting behind the lobby desk like a thousand countless hours of televised war this year.

"Baton Rouge," you think, "is a place to get old, have kids, and get happy." But instead you hide out in Comfort Inns drinking canned beer on the back lawn patio with hurricane rain slicked grass. Rob and you in jeans with no shoes.

"Baby?" you say looking back into the dark room, your back to the pool and grass grounds and hot tub steaming and warm chlorine blue in black distance, but she's asleep and you close the door and walk back across the lawn, where Rob hands you a beer and you smile and things seem okay for once.

Lyrics submitted by lanternsonlakes

Room for Three and the Bayou Summer song meanings
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