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Strumming the Strings of Survival: A Freelancer's Echo of Gallows Pole

Updated: at 04:45 AM

Each guitar strum echoes off the sparse walls of my cramped living space, resonating a melancholy soundtrack to my lonely existence as a 31-year-old freelance software engineer. The late-night silence, accentuating the soft jingle of my old cowboy spurs, reverberates within the confines of these walls like the dull throb of a headache. It’s not just the sound of my struggle but the essence of Willie Watson’s rendition of “Gallows Pole,” a melody that reverberates with the approaching doom, desperation, betrayal, and the disparity of power and poverty.

In this society, power is conferred through wealth, and respect cascades down the rungs of financial security. But wealth is an elusive dream for people like me, teetering on the economic ladder. It’s as distant as my reflection in the bathroom mirror – precise yet painful. The constant bustle of coding, debugging, and meeting clients’ demands keeps me on my toes. The struggle is as accurate as the gallows pole in Watson’s haunting song. All the while, my 4-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter watch with innocent eyes, too young to understand the disparities yet old enough to feel the anxiety permeate our tiny apartment.

It’s interesting how the metaphor of the gallows finds its resonation in my life. It’s no physical structure but a state of life – the impending doom of poverty playing on a ceaseless loop. Much like the brother and parents of the song’s protagonist, my family provides the only glimmers of unwavering hope. They stem from the same roots of hardship and share the same dreams, yet can give nothing beyond love and moral support.

My plea is not for tangible assets like gold or silver. Instead, it’s for stability and peace of mind. A stable job that ensures a consistent income, the guarantee of not having to overwork to provide the basic necessities for my family. Much like the protagonist in the song, my lyrics would resound with pleas for better prospects, a chance to rest my weary bones. The echoes of the gallows pole’s creaking ropes resonate in my constant dread, and it is mirrored in my pursuit of survival amid the deafening dissonance of societal inequalities and personal sacrifices.

The strumming of my guitar strings under the tranquility of the night becomes an anthem – for the anguish I feel, the hope I cling to, and the resilience that keeps me pressing on. As I quietly watch my little world – my partner silently lost in thought, my children innocently dreaming – it hits me. Life’s harsh realities may often feel stifling, but hope lives into our existence.

Mark Anthony Llego

The ‘jingling of my spurs’ against the cold tile echoes my struggle but also reflects my stubborn resolve not to give up. I walk my path, trodden with sacrifices, navigating through the contrasting emotions of despair and hope. Every jingle, every strum, and every note sings my story – a slow-paced ballad of doom and hope, reality and dreams, sacrifices and love. And in it, “Gallows Pole” finds its modern metaphor – in the life of a struggling software engineer and father.