Sunday, 29 January 2012

Four Old Poems and Music

1. Surfer Girl - 1963
[Elk Horn, Iowa]

The significance of a great speech
passed me by in '63 -
sipping sodas to Surfer Girl
in an Elk Horn cafe put a young boy's thoughts
on custom cars, first sex and an
even more distant beach

whereas the slow drawl
of Kennedy's Ich bin ein Berliner or
the rhetoric in King's I had a dream
would have to wait like treasure
buried in the subconscious and
unearthed in some future recall.

My small town then held all realities:
older boys jerked off in disused rooms
as I turned away; ghosts in the haunted house
made me run as they mounted the stairs,
and the cicadas came in singing swarms
then left their empty shells stuck to trees.

Discovering the fear in living with this
meant more than why in Saigon
Quang Duc turned himself into a fireball
or how JFK's vision would disappear
down a Dallas boulevard - and looking back
it's the Beach Boys innocence I would miss.

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