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​These Broken Hills

This song is by Garnet Rogers and appears on the album Sparrow's Wing (1999).

Twenty years ago today
I left my town, I ran away.
Nothing left to do or say
But pack it up and go.
The winter sun was cold and bright
I nailed the doors and windows tight
And with a cigarette set that boat alight
And I burned down all my past.

I drifted through these western towns
No kind of work there to be found
Just more like me who stand around
With their hands shoved in their jeans.
And the stories spread from time to time
"They're hiring further on down the line
Some burnt out mill or run down mine if you dare to go below."

But the jobs were rumors or plain lies
Or the mines closed when men died
Or sickened from the fumes and the dyes
And the poisons in the air.
No more to stand in line
Ashamed to beg for what was mine
Listening to some lawyer lying
About how no one's to blame.

Like broken dreams these broken hills
These broken men bereft of will
With haunted eyes and time to kill
In the barroom's neon glow.
Night slams its fist down on this day
The dancers on the floor all sway
Their laughter harsh as an asses' bray
Or the calling of a crow.

So come on now and fill my glass
Help these empty hours pass
I'm sick, I'm empty, I'm dry as ash
Fill it up, come on, let's go.

Twenty years ago today
I left my town and ran away
Looking for that brighter day
And a dream that never came.