Buskers and Blue Laws
North Carolina galoot sittin’ in a flophouse
sippin’ blue law Seagrams from a brown paper bag
with a side of 7-up. He had a face like a pine cone
for every smoke he ever toked in some forty odd years
earnin’ a little scratch doin’ this and that – mostly outdoors.
He told me then with conviction – a kind of piety really –
that he could smoke and drink as much as any man –
but bein’ a Baptist he don’t believe in it.
So he won’t vote for it neither.
Thirty years on and odd, I’m wanderin’ Santa Fe way
with that old codger’s logic still stuck in my craw.
I come across a busker trio outside a Smith’s Food and Drugs.
Feller with his gittar got a full-figured well-worn
case wide open for any to stop by, mebbe drop a dime.
Pretty little fiddle strokin’ the bow keeps her straps closed.
Got a banjo man too – but he don’t pay no never mind
to city folk just passin’ through .
Now me, I got no taste for Kintucky bluegrass.
Ain’t gonna catch me steppin’ no Tennessee waltz.
But I laid a dollar down just where the lady likes it.
A vote I suppose – ‘cuz I reckon I believe in it.
Live at the Troubadour
(After “Blackbird” and Fixing a Hole”
Dumb blackbird ricochets ceiling to wall
after well-meaning plebes
plaster spackled the hole
where the song gets in
A few troubadours survived the seventies.
Their lucid albeit grimly sunken eyes
tell us the songbirds all up and died.
One late night TV cadaver claimed he
had been killed by clean living. Coroner
listed proximate cause- death by insulation.
Wandermind winging in the dead of night…
can’t find the hole where the rain gets in
shatters wing against shuttered pane instead.
A poem about writing a love poem.
It will be as painful as It can be.
A tablespoon of tears, a cup
Full of moon, naturally, which-
(Somewhere on a jukebox a singer sings a song about the lonely life of a singer on the road singing songs to a packed concert hall about the lonely life of a singer singing songs on the road somewhere…)
Elicits polite titters from the critics.
Later, one lover will say to the other,
“I HATED that!”
That is something like love, isn’t?
© Phillip Larrea, from Part Time Job (Sybaritic Press (September 29, 2016)