Monday, March 15, 2010

King of the Jungle

At six years old I am not aware of the exact

implications of the word stroke.

And when you sit me on the bottom of the

oak staircase with the wrought iron banister

I can see that you have been sobbing and your

fear at 32 is more intense than any of mine.

I do not know exactly what was said during that

phone call, only that it was spoken by my grandmother

from an emergency room somewhere and heard in front

of a glowing kitchen window on a phone old

enough to have a curly cord and that it is

the hottest part of the summer and we’ve just

been to the zoo to ride the carousel and see the

lions. And that when it is finally relayed to

me I do not understand the change of life it

will imply or how unfair it is to keep a

lion in a Midwestern zoo confined to a glass

enclosure, pacing the same worn spots, gawked

at, its majesty doctored and forgotten.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Janis Joplin on the Festival Express

You ever get drunk on a train
through four cities in less than twice
as many days? Well, when you got
eleven cars and just as many bands
riding along and it's the heat of the 
summer and it's that beautiful part
of Canada between Winnipeg and
Calgary and you just saw what
Toronto had going on-- I tell you
what you're gonna do: you're gonna
drink on that train. And you're 
gonna go down to the car where
everybody's got their guitars out
and you're gonna forget-- when you
see the Grateful Dead and The Band
jamming with Buddy Guy-- that it 
ain't been more than 5 or 6 years
since we got the good sense to start
eating in the same diners and
pissing in the same toilets.
And you'd get drunk too if you
heard that some thousand kids
decided to storm the gates at the
next stop and goddamn you 
if you didn't know you had to
let those kids hear you for free
and if only I knew that I'd 
be dead by October-- but it's
Summertime, child, and your
living is easy.