Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll

Sex, drugs, rock & roll are the topics for this week's Poetry Bus, driven by The Watercats' clever hands while the Totalfeckineegit takes his rest from bus driving. We were supposed to record our reading, too, but alack and alas, I have old stuff and no microphone. I'm lucky I'm even attached to the Internet.

There's a little bit of everything in this poem, written for my best pal Tonya McClure. She lost her fight against cancer, but she was a Deadhead to the end. That's her beautiful mug up there, at the start of this post.

The Grateful Dead Girl

The Deadhead girl is tie-dyed all over, barefoot,
smoking reefer washed down by whiskey,
the whole psychedelic world at her fingertips.

The music grows wings and soars overhead
while the bass and the drums grow feet
and stomp the wooden floor in a cadence
ripe for dancing.
She dances, big beautiful girl,

with a curtain of hair that swings
in rhythm with the pulse of the Dead.
Love is free and it is flowing everywhere
within the planet formed by the music

and her awkward edges blur until she blends
with the sounds of the Grateful Dead.
She is the Grateful Dead and no longer tormented
by the dark otherness that plagues her
on Mondays, or Wednesdays,
in grocery stores or mirrors.

She goes home in a sweet cocoon of Deadness
with a panting heart and laughter
for having danced at the center of the music.

Decades slip past for the Deadhead girl
leaving only gauzy memories to clench
and clench she does on Mondays, or Wednesdays,
in supermarkets and in mirrors, which show
her neck has grown wings that flap unkindly
at her throat.

Her awkward edges have returned
with a vengeance,
for no longer do the reefer
and the whiskey lend a soft-focus loveliness
to the dark otherness that has always plagued her.

She knows now that love is never free,
and her fight with cancer needs a clear head.
Her children groan into lives of their own.
Grandchildren sprout in a corner of her life,
and devotion rocks her down to her toes.

Old Grateful Dead posters still cling to her walls,
as she contemplates death coming round
the next corner.
Dancing exhausts her
but she keeps the beat with her foot on the floor.
The concert soon will finish, but she’s grateful
she once danced at the center of the music.
For more sex, drugs, rock & roll, take a ride on TFE's Poetry Bus.


joanny said...

A beautiful poem and tribute to your lovely friend. Remember there is no loss only difficult gifts from God --
Your friend walks on as all about her pieces of the song fall around her - no longer able to keep the beat - and after the tears a new day begins - patiently we wait to join her for we will all sing that song and dance that walk of change and join her.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful poem and the love is threaded deeply through it. I hope writing this has brought you as much comfort as I am sure her loved ones will feel when they read your tribute. - G

Brian Miller said...

i think i knew her once...and danced her dance...though i spun out of the circle for a second chance...

she hid me from reality...

nicely done chris...

lakeviewer said...

Oh, what a sad story. She'd appreciate your take on her story.

Jingle said...

powerful poem!

steveroni said...

She is dancing her way among and between the stars--not Rock-an-Roll Stars now--or maybe they are?

Syd said...

I think that her spirit still dances and that is what is so great. That spirit lives on through memories like this.

Rachel Fox said...

I like the posters clinging to the walls!

the watercats said...

This is such a beautiful, heart breaking poem, it's sort of surprised me how many quite raw and fiercely emotional poems this challenge has churned up. It's brilliant! Just beautiful poem what sounds like, a beautiful soul, cheers!

Karen said...

This poem of her life and death brings her back for the rest of us. So sad, Chris.

Scott said...

that was me... 'cept I wasn't a Deadhead but danced at many a concert under many an influence...

the walking man said...

This is one of the finest eulogy tribute poems I have ever read. All of your emotion for this friend is spilling from every line Chris. Well Written, well done.

Anonymous said...

"and her fight with cancer needs a clear head."


This is beautiful, Chris.

Magpie said...

What a lovely, lasting friendship you two shared. Somewhere she knows how much you loved her and still do. Beautifully done, Chris.

Poetikat said...

This was like a vignette from a roll of Woodstock footage. I felt the way the music moved her (and I don't even like the Dead).

Sad ending, both real and written, but you've done her proud.


Nana Jo said...

What a beautiful woman! Lovely, lovely poem .... it dances with every line and so does she. I feel so blessed to have made her acquaintance this morning.

Niamh B said...

This is a gorgeous tribute to your friend, thanks for bringing her to us like this.

Anonymous said...

Really nice, thanks. It's not the events that are so important in our lives, it's how we react to them.

Jeanne Iris said...

Love IS free... Amen to that!

Thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts and leading us through another place and time.

Sandra Leigh said...

The rhythm of this poem is strong, musical, and compelling. I loved the line "...she once danced at the center of the music." That is beautiful, as was your friend.

Argent said...

Wow. That's all I'm saying.

Jingle said...

awesome sentiments!

some friendship seeds,
Happy May!

Peter Goulding said...

That's a great tribute. Love the Mondays and Wednesdays references. Oh how true...

Tari said...

Absolutely beautiful!

I can see her in my mind when she was 20 or 25. Sorry for your loss.