Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Kept Waiting for Them to Play Tusk

The Fleetwood Mac cover band is finishing 
their final set of the evening when I suddenly remember 
that it’s my father’s birthday and I forgot to call 
to leave him his yearly message. He never picks up, 
neither does my stepmother, both of them screening 
their calls for years. It’s too late anyways, even without 
the three hour time difference. 
The Stevie Nicks impersonator is not quite on key, 
but she looks close enough. It’s warm and dry 
here at the Spare Room and my friend is making me laugh
harder than I have in a long time, even if the laughter 
has a slightly hysterical edge to it. A huge black guy
taps me on the shoulder and asks “That your coat?”
and it is, dammit, it's slipped off the back off the swivel chair
and onto the filthy carpet. This place used to be part
of a bowling alley, converted into something else,
leaving nothing but the bar intact.I should admit now
that I hate Fleetwood Mac, all but that one song,
that weird one with the drum corps tattooing that 
military beat over their ridiculous chanting.
The TVs play sports commentary shows. Keno machines blink
in every corner and I realize I’ve never gone out to a bar
with my father, not even once, isn’t that something
you’re supposed to do at some point, go out and have a beer
with the old man, only it doesn’t always work that way,
sometimes the father dies when you're young or runs off
or maybe he doesn't drink and anyways I’m fortunate 
to have had any time with him at all, even if 
he drives me a little nuts, I’ve been lucky in general
despite the creeping choke of despair I feel 
on a regular basis, lucky to be sitting here, listening to someone 
who is not quite Stevie Nicks, yet not completely not 
Stevie Nicks either singing the big finale, and I know 
I need to run and catch my bus, but maybe there's time, 
maybe it can wait until right after this number.

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