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Closing Time in Big Sur

She was cruising down the Big Sur coast,
Looking for a little romance.
I was walking the edge of Highway One,
Hoping for a second chance.

She pulled that Ford to the side of the road.
I opened the door, got in.
Said, “My name’s Adam, baby. What’s yours?”
She said, “They call me Original Sin.”

She didn’t look like no high-school sweetheart.
She was no obvious beauty queen.
But she had something every man knows,
That fire that’s felt not seen.

We coasted down that seaside highway
Until the evening fog rolled in,
Then checked ourselves into the Pines Motel,
Where I first knew Original Sin.

When I awoke the next morning
The room held nothing but me and a note.
“Nice knowing you, Adam, but I gotta roll.
See you around sometime,” she wrote.

I wandered on down the side of the road,
Feeling just strange and tired.
Stuck out a thumb and a rig pulled over,
Said, “You want a job moving, you’re hired.”

We drifted along the curves below Sur
For most of that foggy morning,
Crawled over a hill and into a bunch
Of cops and cars with no warning.

Below the carved cliffs, out on the rocks
Was the smoldering wreck of a Ford.
Gulls swarmed above it, calling and calling,
Looking for a little reward.

“Another damn fool,” said the trucker.
“Took the curve just a little too quick.
I seen it before and I’ll see it again.
It’s a killer of a road when it’s slick.”

He edged round the cops and the gawkers,
Hit the gas, downshifted the gears.
“Pull over,” I said, ” and let me get out.
Far as I go is right here.”

I walked back to the Sur and got me a job.
Worked hard, got some money laid in,
And opened this bar by the side of the road,
And I named it Original Sin.

And sometimes halfway to morning,
When the last of the drunks have rolled home,
I find myself down by the Pines Motel,
And I know that I’m never alone,
Know now that I’m never alone.

And that’s my sad old story, pal.
Just one of a million I hear.
But this tale is mine to know and to tell.
Tell me yours and I’ll buy you a beer.
Tell me yours and its worth
One cold beer.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Terry October 4, 2019, 6:48 PM

    There must be a million romantic stories to be told of drives on Hwy 1 and the beaches the road passes. I know I have a few.

    Watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean horizon and then the moon at midnight.

    And attempting to keep the sand out of . . . everything . . .

  • jwm October 4, 2019, 8:26 PM

    I may have brought this up before, but has anyone set this to music?
    And if not, why not?
    I could hear The Grateful Dead with it, or it could as easily go country, Allman Brothers…
    Or—
    Who Else?

    JWM

  • Phil in Englewood October 5, 2019, 4:31 AM

    jwm – agreed, sounds like the bones of a Garcia/Hunter song..

  • Vanderleun October 5, 2019, 7:54 AM

    I’d set it to music but I don’t know how.

  • MarkInKansas October 5, 2019, 9:59 AM

    Reminded me of “Tangled Up In Blue” but that guy has already done this song.

  • Sam L. October 5, 2019, 10:16 AM

    Ya done goooooooooooooooood, Girard. Seems to me that someone who can DO music would pick this up. Oughta be someone who reads this could know that other someone…

  • Tom Hyland October 5, 2019, 4:32 PM

    I think this song has already been written… and recorded quite well. Take a listen to “Caught In The Rain” by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HElZTWx9-dQ&frags=pl%2Cwn

  • Tom Hyland October 5, 2019, 6:24 PM

    Just gave Dan Hicks another spin and what you’ve written here, Gerard, is very fine. Dan’s piece is quite insipid in comparison. A fun song, like everything Dan did. This poem of yours is more like tragic heartbreaker stuff. Wille Nelson or, I know… David Bromberg, could sing this song very well. I wish there was an edit button here where I could delete or change my words occasionally.

  • Terry October 5, 2019, 8:18 PM

    Bill Cosby may do the recording for nothing.

    He did this one in 1967:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbO4M5V4ymM

    Use the instrumental part of the track, reduce the tempo, recite the words and go for it.

  • mushroom October 6, 2019, 5:35 PM

    Go Leonard Cohen on it.

  • Jim October 6, 2019, 9:45 PM

    spent years driving that highway. From 1967, to the summer of love. Then living in New Monterey, PG, Carmel. Ending up caretaking for allan Funt, who owned the house on the point just north of Bixby Bridge. Spent a year there, pretty magical. One of the few things I miss about California.

  • another one October 8, 2019, 8:44 PM

    In 1972 my little girl was seven. I was a single mom–not angry with my ex–he was a good friend and great dad. I drove my little girl down the coast to show her the Big Sur. We couldn’t afford to eat at the famous place, so I stopped on the highway up above and took out my copy of Robinson Jeffers poetry. I read those poems to my little girl hoping that someday in the long distant future she would remember the sound of the surf and the way it made poetry sound.

  • John October 9, 2019, 9:56 AM

    Ah, yes, Adventures in Big Sur. Mine happened suddenly. Picture a brilliant beachy afternoon, driving north back to San Francisco talking about Emile, A French artist who moved here from Paris back in the day. At about the same time we both remember he’s known for his gregarious nature and likes to entertain his mostly female models in his home and studio, and you can find it pretty easily because it’s on Rt 1 and everybody local knows where it is. We stop to ask and discover we’re just about there, so a few moments later we pull in at his front door. I knock and in moment the door flies open and I’m shaking the hand of the Man himself. Welcome, please come in, he says–to my girl friend. Beaming a grin he turns to me and says, ‘beautiful, beautiful, thank you, thank you! ‘. Then he takes her hand and with her in tow, blue bikini and all, they vanish inside. For awhile. Just when looking at a blank closed door gets pretty old, it opens and out she stumbles, half laughing and half concerned about whether or not she still has a ride home or something. At least she got a poster signed by Emile; what else she may have acquired I’ll never know. We were married for about 20 years and remain good friends. Art for art’s sake, of course.

  • RebeccaH October 10, 2019, 10:46 AM

    Johnny Cash would have got a Grammy for singing this one.