|Oct/Nov 2017 Poetry Special Feature|
Image excerpted from Imparting Wisdom by Roe LiBretto
Other Me Can Sing
There is a road parallel to my own,
where other me walks along the dark woods between us.
Where he kicks stones, an acoustic guitar strapped (where else?) to his back,
sometimes looking to the trees to inspire a voice undestroyed by puberty,
a voice that gave him more than non-tenure in his best friend's punk band where
a singing voice did not matter, shining combat boots,
screaming lyrics he did not write.
Mostly though, he looks to his own head,
tripping over other failures and non-talents,
writing songs where he runs into his uncle's Malibu Beach house tide.
Unafraid like his little brother, still a toddler,
of all the jaws waiting to pull him down, down, down.
Instead of keeping a safe distance, shovel-flicking dry sand,
the breeze pelting the pages of his uncle's paperback beach read.
Songs where he doesn't miss-tie his knots at Boy Scout winter jamborees.
Instead of his un-technical brain misunderstanding their intricacies,
his troop's success in the log-pull race thwarted by his inabilities.
Where his rope slips, clenches his wrist,
drags him down, down, down through the snow,
Dad running along the course shouting, defending.
All sung in a voice with names like Josh and Teddy and Gregory,
where listeners wish to live inside snug and safe,
dreaming of all the things they can do and be.
A voice casting just enough lantern light for me to see through the trees
other me buttoning his matching green cardigan
with calloused fingers from never quitting guitar lessons
sometime after turning fifteen.
Still, I write my words and we both walk toward microphones,
and unlike him, I will have both hands free
to open and close and clench and salute,
to transform into pistols if necessary.
Middle fingers, peace signs,
or most excellent rock and roll horns
shooting stars over anyone who breathes.