JAMES MCMURTRY


Ruby And Carlos Lyrics

Ruby said you're gittin' in a world of hurt
Down below the Mason-Dumbass line the food gets worse
I can't go back to Tennessee
that NASCAR country's not for me
Go on, if you think you must.

Carlos packed his drums up in the dead of night
Ruby's standing just outside the front porch light
chain-smoking Camel straights
the sky off in the east got gray
And he rolled off in a cloud of dust.

In a gray cold knickered at the gate
she said you're right its getting late
you and me got work to do
we can't be burning daylight too
she took down the long lead rope
and stayed off that slippery slope

The aspen trees were turning gold up top
the talk was buzzin 'round the beauty shop
wasn't he barely half her age
well that's how they do now days
wish we'd all had been so lucky.

By spring she'd had the run of the free born men
Ruby turned 50 in a sheep camp tent
her body still could rock all night
but her heart was closed and locked up tight

Potato fields all muddy and brown
the gossip long since quieted down

and after one more cognitive test
pouring coffee for the county best
pictures on the ice box door
of Carlos in the first Gulf War
black-eyed brown and youthful face
smiling back from a Saudi base

And then Carlos on the big bay mare
heavier now and longer hair
looking past the saddle shed
from way on back inside his head

And the old vet said, "One day Rube
that cold could break an egg in you!"
and now and then one comes along
you just can't ride an he went on home.

And the storm door didn't catch
it blew back hard as she struck a match
but she cupped it just in time
and she sent that ash tray flyin'

And holding back the flood
just don't do no good
you can't unclench your teeth
to how the way you should
so you curl your lips around
the taste, the tears, and the hollow sound
that no one owns but you
no one owns but you.

Carlos took the road gig and he saw it through
he rode the tour bus while the singer flew
managed out a music row
Carlos never saw the studio
session guys had that all sewn up.

He looks out the window and it starts to sleet
laying on a friend's couch on Nevada Street
Lately he's been staying high
sick all winter and he don't know why
they don't know why or they just won't say
they don't talk much down at the V.A.

And Ruby's in his thoughts sometimes
what thoughts can get out past the wine
he feels her fingers on his brow
and right then he misses how
she looked in that gray morning light
she never shaved like they all do now
he sees it all behind his eyes
and his hands go searching but they come up dry

And half way in that waking dream
Carlos lets the land line ring
He never guessed it was Ruby calling
the pin in her hip from the gray cold falling
figure eight in a lazy lope
stumbled on that slippery slope

And holding back the flood
just don't do no good
you can't unclench your teeth
to how the way you should
so you curl your lips around
the taste, the tears, and the hollow sound
that no one owns but you
no one owns but you.

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Songwriter(s): James Mc Murtry
Copyright: Short Trip Music
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