Rock Strikes Town

Concert poster dangles
Thumbtack pinning right corner
High on white pressboard wall

Haiku half written
In stuttering red script
Peeking from behind
Growing out of the poster’s red block letters

Once had lover bliss
deviated abruptly
now…

Local newspaper tumbles slow-mo across warm concrete
Headline reads

Area man killed while writing haiku about love

Julian, five-five in Beatle boots
Strolling easily
Daydream believer
Red block letters, catching his gaze
Gravitates to white pressboard wall
Reads aloud

Foster the People & Mother Mother Play Coliseum Tonight 8 PM

Manic, Julian texts 50 closest friends
Overcome, he sprints home
Elated, he posts the concert news online
Sweaty, he showers and shaves
Hungry, he eats toasted cheese sandwiches
Delirious, he stares at dad overhauling ’89 Malibu in driveway

Passing on Ash Street
Slowly by the rows of autumn-hued stucco two-stories
A jimmy-rigged ice cream truck vibrates
Mounted on hood and roof, large loud speakers
Blare a monotone voice
Repeating

Free rock concert tonight, Eight PM at the coliseum

At extreme edge of cracked driveway
Julian’s stare transfers from dad to magnetic ice cream truck glimmer
Blaring

Free rock concert tonight, Eight PM at the coliseum

Trailing
Ten rows deep
Julian’s neighbors cover pavement from curb to curb
Marching as to war
Called by unknown music and the pull of the free

Night builds itself
Darkly
Out of the buzz of music
Out of the hopes of youth
Out of the primal forces of the moon

Once had lover bliss
deviated abruptly
now…

Every seat fills in the coliseum
Pushing every unseated person
To every empty space in between
And around
Shoulder to shoulder
Chest to back to chest
From the very oldest
To the very youngest
The coliseum bulges with bodies and beat

Julian, five-five in Beatle boots
Nucleus for friends’ revolving bodies
Song-and-dance man extraordinaire
Oblivious to the weirdness of this moment
Clueless as to its cause
Doomed bringer of the storm, vibrates as

Words from Mother Mother collide with his deaf ears

Everyone’s fucked and they don’t even know…
Everyone’s fucked and they don’t even know…

Outside, all around the coliseum
With no one to testify or cry out
Enemy bombs and rockets from unseen aircraft
Explode
Igniting the streets

Building after building
Business after business
Home after home
Topple into debris and dust
As did the towers of New York City

Only this time, empty of human life
All residents rocking the coliseum
All heads bobbing and swaying
All hearts and minds transfixed
Unaware and happy

Concert poster dangles
Thumbtack pinning right corner
Red block letters disappearing
In flame

Haiku covered in ash

Image credits: (top) Alan Winston, (bottom) Warren Blyth

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