Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hand Writing On The Wall

Warm Up Act

I wonder if the warm up act shifting
foot to foot in the black chute below
the stage took time to scan the signatures
scrawled in Sharpie on the high white walls
all that accreted guano from darting
blind nocturnal egos.  Putting myself
in his shoes (too business casual
for a hungry singer/songwriter!)
comparative height would have drawn
my attention:  Ritchie Havens to
John Prine, Roger McGuinn to Emmylou
Billy Bragg to Lou or Peter Berryman.
Loudon Wainwright III must have stood
on a bar stool, Iris Dement penned
graceful as a song.  No more than a kid
alone in the lights, negotiating
the same three kindly chords, the very air
of the Ark carved deep with their worn grooves
he polished his stage presence, sang
the words to songs he wrote accompanied
by his own veering bat gorging on our
polite applause.   The headliners waited
relaxed atop thousands of shows, at ease
beneath faded looping autographs
pining to slip, even for a moment
into those stiff new shoes or perhaps quietly
thankful for their well tooled boots.

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