Old Man Mortis

The Story

Highway 8 in Wisconsin almost did it for this brother. After about four hours on the road I crested a low hill and saw a cafe on the left, threw my signal, slowed down, leaned confidently toward my refreshments. Trouble was, some yahoo, screaming up behind me doing 80 plus, came flying over the hill, hit the horn, almost hit the left-side ditch and I never saw the S.O.B again.

Naturally I wrote him a song.

Old Man Mortis - Lyrics

© Joe Muldoon

Been a long time thinkin’ about him
Although we never actually met
Though I’ve seen his shadow surroundin’ me tight
He hasn’t gotten me yet
He’s the commonest institution, the limit of every life.
The meaning of the screaming bullet and the silent knife.

Well I heard him stepping on the stones outside
Heard his laugh in the wind.
Nailed my door shut when somebody cried
Say sonny won’t you let me in,
You can run around gathering garlands,
Live your life in the light.
You can sing these songs, all day long
But Old Man Mortis is the king of the night.

You spend a lot of time to figure his forms out
Enummeratin’ his names.
Oh give it up, what you’ve seen before
Never the same,
Some people wish him a welcome, most just try to ignore
A few folk hide inside flat on the back, with their feet up against the door.

It was a midnight midwest highway
Bringing me and my bike back home
Straight shot unlit two lane black top
Thinkin’ I was all alone
Then I seen his face in my mirror, on the bumper of a big old truck
Heard him laugh in the night as I dove to the right, at my little bitty piece of luck.