Poem in which my hairline recedes

and Mary’s dress tears     past all stitching     in the screen door warping shut
forever   Roy Orbison croons in memory     of the follicles     too mischievous
or weak to stay with me     a torch song     no less passionate     for being foolish
and I’m scared     both at the grand     banality of knowing     I ain’t that young
anymore     and the keener dread     of what would happen     if she met me
Mary     this far down the road     as yet unable      to offer her     a ride
It’s a slow burn     mortification     a debt being bled from me     instalment by
invisible instalment     while my hairdresser cracks     her kindly jokes     and lathers
my endangered locks     with coconut shampoo     Her laughter confiscates the dream
of  late nights     without consequence     and the songs I wrote     in my attic room
when I was 17     Springsteen was only 25     when he wrote Born to Run     his album
of awakening and fear     at the chances screaming past    on the irretrievable highway
Christ     I can’t     stop staring at those     deathless gatefold shots     where leather-
jacketed he beams    and leans on Clarence     man cleavage and medallion     on show
his perfect hair      a black hydrangea     sprouting to eternity     I want to run
my fingers     like wind     through his rolled-down window     to the roots
but no more will I listen     to that shameless harmonica     which sounds
like fragrant summer nights     and someone with the front     to corner Mary
and explain     how they’ve got     one last chance     to make it real
knowing there’s     no chance in hell     that chance may pass them by

Dai George

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