“Levi After Lucy”

In the aftermath of Lucy Cooper‘s either accidental overdose or intentional suicide while incarcerated in the Louisiana Prison for Women, Levi Hooper went on something of a bender.  Levi was not normally a drinker, but he felt despondent over Lucy’s death and did the only thing he knew how in order to deal with the set of emotions he felt: anger, shock, frustration.

Lucy had not done any drugs or much drinking for weeks prior to being arrested. That arrest was in itself was another case of bad timing: someone she thought was a friend flipped when arrested and gave Lucy up as his dealer (see song, “Levi and Lucy“.  The reason Levi did not wish to believe that Lucy had committed suicide was because often when a former user has not done any narcotics for a while, if they relapse at their last dosage, their body cannot tolerate what it once did.

In any event, Lucy had been in the process of turning her life around at the time of her arrest, and her death while serving a relatively short sentence, 18 months, was hard for Levi to take (see songs, “Ready for Change” and “When Louanne Met Lucy in Prison“).

His binge begins in bars around Vicksburg, then he hits the road, to Greenwood, and Greenville, ending up at a small Catholic church in Lake Providence, Louisiana.  Levi does not wish to be rude to the priest, he is simply exhausted both mentally and physically, and after this experience, Levi goes back home, devotes himself once again to helping his mother and begin to pick up the pieces of his life.

Levi After Lucy

Levi staggered up the stone church steps
A slice of moon hung above a wooden cross
Inside the door he stared at a concrete font
Then walked down the aisle, drunk and lost

He eased himself into a pew and sat
Musty scent of incense hung in the air
Worn leather knee-benches underfoot
Levi tried to find the words of a prayer

Vicksburg, Greenwood, Greenville
Gone down many roads, travelin’ still
Pavement, gravel, then dirt
But what he’s lookin’ for ain’t in this church

His head sank to his chest; he slept
A priest shook him; he struggled to his feet
The priest asked him, “Do I know ye?”
“No,” Levi said. “You don’ know me.”

Vicksburg, Greenwood, Greenville …

“Please, Lord, please keep me still
From sinkin’ lower an’ blowin’ away
I’ll straighten out I swear I will
Least that’s how I feel today”

Priest looked him over and said
“Were you waiting to see me?”
Woman was dustin’ the altar with a rag
“No, sir, I just fell asleep.”

Vicksburg, Greenwood, Greenville …
© 2018 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP)

Published by

f. d. leone