Poem – 4/28/21

Early to bed
Early to dream
The scene:
The Bluebird Theater

Where my grandmother
Used to send my father
To Saturday matinees back in the 40’s
10 cents for a movie
And popcorn and a soda
She told me

I set foot in the theater
For the first time,
Back in the 90’s
When I caught the zero bus north from the suburbs
Took the 15 to the east side
A little gone to seed

I drew X’s on my hands
In the sun outside
Waiting in line with
All the other punks and hardcore kids
Hoping my father’s ghost waited inside
Hovering like a dust mote in the rafters

Oh yeah. I forgot.
Talking about a dream
Sorry. I distract easily
This early in the morning.
So Forrest and I, we’re at the Bluebird
Standing with another friend

Who’s face faded with the waking
I think it might have been Derrick
I don’t know if I would recognize him, anyway
Forrest told me once how the six packs he drains
At the end of every hard workday
Have taken their toll on his aging face

Rancid took the stage
Like a goddamn storm
For the first two songs at least
Then Matt Freeman broke a string
And the whole thing
Sort of came apart at the seams

The band left the stage
Came back to pantomime at playing
Along with a pre-recorded track
As if this isn’t more or less
What Tim Armstrong does onstage already
More of a mascot, than a guitar player

With Lars doing much of the lifting
You can’t convince me Tim’s guitar
Is actually plugged in to anything
Forrest and I have been arguing about this
For over 25 years now
A good-natured disagreement among friends

I cherish this loving quarrel
Along with our squabbles
Around The Sisters Of Mercy
And their merits as a band
Worth listening to, flute solos and all
Like a most prized possession

If age has taught me one thing
It’s this:
Friends who put up
With your loud mouth opinions
Year upon year
Are a true gift

The band sort of shrugged
Walked off the stage
The crowd broke up
Muttering halfhearted disdain
Before going our separate ways
Forrest and I made for the side door

Walking past a young skinhead
Doing his trigonometry homework
Scribbling equations on the sticky club floor
“I’m trying to get into Harvard!” He said
Good luck, kid
I hope somewhere, you made it.

Forrest and I walked out the door
Into the alley next to the club
Then I woke up
Dreams are so weird
This is still the closest
I have ever come to seeing Rancid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s