Monday, November 08, 2010

POEM: Rock Star

He emerges in a shiny silk midnight-blue suit,
Black patent-leather Chelsea boots,
a blue shirt with white pin dots,
a black-and-blue polka-dot tie
And a Stetson Gambler

He darts into his tent stall and comes out in a different hat.
He is sucking on a lemon.
I sneak a peek at the mint-green Stetson,
Size 7 ½, with a blue-and-yellow band
Purchased at Meyer the Hatter in New Orleans.
Tucked into the sweatband., the card reads
“Like Hell It’s Yours.”

In a previous life
His duties included printing out invoices for the moustache
Waxes of the occasional Duchess who visited the company’s West End salon.
He spent a lot of time with just a big jar of instant coffee
and the first Clash album.

There was the “Look-at-me-I’ve-got-a-big-hairy-chest-and-a-big-willy” rock’n’roll
The “Fuck-me-I’m-so-sensitive-Jackson-Browne” school of seduction.

He eschewed both
How comical the whole knock-kneed stance seemed
To photographer & subject.

He is the king of the cameo.
Discouraging admiration and flirting with a controlled fall from grace.
Control is hard to come by in this feat of self-sabotage.

Playing fast and a touch rough
A set list taped to the soundboard had already been abandoned.
Remembering what his father always told him,
“Never, ever look up to a note. Always look down.”

Despite the gift of an old favorite,
A din of inattention spills past the soundboard toward the stage
The way rock’n’roll sounded in 1921.
It ended with him whistling into a full breeze of indifference
From the back of the room.

He narrowed his attention and shrunk the hall.
On a blond Gibson Super 400 guitar
Which he thrashes with little hands of concrete
Into a long, not always tonal discursion.
Arms outstretched at the finish,
Combining sincere appetite for applause
With half-ironic self congratulation
And a task master’s impatience for the guitar tech –

It was time to swap out the Gibson.

A honky tonk show
A honky tonk audience

The VIPs sheepish and beaming.
The where-you-froms burble on.
A mention of Spokane soon had him talking
About getting ill in a motor lodge in Boise, Idaho.


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