The Quality Of Mercer Gets Quite Strained

Two new songs by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen

Any Place I Feed My Cat Is Home (for Theo)

Still a kitten
That’s his style
Life is playtime
Makes me smile
Stalks treats in the
Carpet pile
Shreds paper into
An’ any place I feed my cat is home.

Finds a place
To sharpen claws
But not the scratch-post
He ignores
Stops for grooming and
Licks his paws
Loves his brush and
An’ any place I feed my cat is home.

Flies buzzing in his face
Invade his space
Them all got a nerve
Them he has to chase
No help from me
He’ll take them all on.

Out the door
To call on friends
When he’s back
It all depends
Corridor calling
Now it’s time to
I’ll let him have a wander
Into his own yonder
‘Cause any place I feed my cat is home.

Adapted from “Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home” by Johnny Mercer, music by Harold Arlen

Sinatra’s Last Over

I’m 73
There’s pain in every joint
Especially each knee.
So give me the ball
I really hope I won’t embarrass you all.
I’m bowling, my friend,
At match end,
And we can’t wait to lose:
So it’s one for the over,
And then break out the booze.

I’ve still got my pride:
I’d hate for them to win
This match off a wide.
I’m bending my back
To make the pitch pitch inside
His half of the track.
Let him hit me for four,
Maybe more,
Any place he might choose.
That’s my one for the over:
Now let’s break out the booze.

You’d never know it –
I once knew how to bowl it
The ball that even Ben Stokes couldn’t play,
A total corker, a late reversing yorker…
But now it’s gone away

The evening’s turned cold,
The ball and I are almost
Equally old:
So thanks for the cheer,
I know you think it’s time
I closed my career.
As I call it a day
I can say
That I paid all my dues.
So that’s my one for the over
Now let’s break out the booze
That long awaited booze.

Adapted from “One For My Baby” by Johnny Mercer, Music by Harold Arlen

Published in The Nightwatchman issue 35 Autumn 2021

30. November 2023 by rkh
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