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Paul Allen: Music

Angel of the Open Road

(Paul Allen)
October 21, 2010
Paul Allen

Josh liked this song on the road

Angel of the Open Road



I left my old car

burning on the highway out of Mobile.

Cops rode me to the off-ramp.

I sat down beneath the telephone booth

at the all night service station.

Houston was a long way off.

No reason for Houston.

Just seemed like some place to go

when my old man kicked me out.

I was just 20 and scared,

hadn’t eaten since I passed LaGrange.

If you gave me a dollar for my hope,

I’d have to give you 90 cents in change.

Then up walked an angel of the open road.


She said I looked like

some kind of road-kill cat.

I said, “Mam, I can’t argue with that.”

I stood up and I scraped my back

on the corner of the telephone booth.

We walked across the service station lot

to her room at the Motel 6.

The t.v. was on, and I took a long shower.

When I got out she was shuffling a deck of cards.

She said, “Hey look what I found

in the drawer where the Bible’s supposed to be.

Boy, sit your skinny ass down

and turn down that damn t.v.”

And I learned to play hearts

with an angel of the open road.


She got me to Houston—

said it was on her way. 

I asked her where she was going

and she said, “Not Houston”.   

But I remember standing there

under the “Help Wanted” sign

at Houston Door and Steel,

and I watched her turn around

and go back like we came.

I’m not gonna say that she

taught me to be a man.

That’s a cliché and a lie,

like Santa Clause and Disneyland.

But I came to believe

in angels of the open road.


Then I went on with my life

and later put myself through school.

Now I got two kids and a wife,

two cars and an above ground pool.


But I can be caught in traffic now,

or standing at some church picnic

wishing I was anyplace else,

wishing I was just a hole in the crowd.

And I see her standing there.

Tying back her long black hair.

And again it’s just me,

and that angel of the open road.

Again it’s just me,

and that angel of the open road.