(words & music by Larry Looney, © 2001)
inspired by the novel BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA by Dorothy Allison
My Christian name is Ruth Ann – ever’body calls me Bone.
I’m a bastard, says the State of Carolina,
but that don’t mean a thing to me – I’ve been hurt, but I have grown –
I’m a girl who’s put the worst of life behind her.
My mama always told us she loved us more than life –
there was nothin’ that could break the bond between us,
but ever’thing began to change when she became his wife –
I could feel it from the first time that he seen us.
We waited in the car while Mama lay in labor long,
my little sister Reese asleep in dreamland.
He held me on his lap – he made me feel so awful wrong –
and the smell of him I couldn’t hardly stand.
The first time that I made him mad, he beat me black and blue –
his belt it flew like there was no tomorrow.
I thought that it was all my fault – if I had only knew
that I was not the cause of all my sorrow.
Call me Bone – I have borne a pain that no one in this life should ever know.
I will open it, and make from it a song, that I may grow,
that you may know to call me Bone.
I had to get away from him, so Raylene took me in,
to stay with her a while down by the river.
I learned a lot of things from her – I learned to look within,
to try to love my Mama, to forgive her.
When I was there alone one day, his shadow filled the door –
he raped and beat me, just to prove his power.
My Mama came and caught him in the act, but not before
he’d left me with my lifetime’s darkest hour.
I know that it will take awhile – the anger runs so deep –
to understand how she could be so blind.
I know I want to love my Mama, to have her for to keep –
but I’m afraid he has a stronger hold upon her mind.
The hurt of what he did to me will never go away –
the welts and bruises, they won’t last forever –
but all the scars upon my soul are here with me to stay –
the living lines of pain cannot be severed.
Call me Bone – I have borne a pain that no child in this life should ever know.
I will open it, and make from it a song, that I may grow.
Call me Bone – I will tell my story to anyone who has a listening ear.
I have lived eleven years,
I have cried a million tears,
but I will stand up strong – call me Bone,
just a bastard out of Carolina…
30 September 2001