Into the Epode with Grover Lewis

The day before the Ditty Bops came to town,
the ghost of Grover Lewis prowled the backstage
canvas tent smoking with one hand and fuming
with the other like a dumbshow player.

While the painters and the carpenters hammered
and brushed, Grover stood on the amplifier
overseeing the pandemonium like he was
in someone’s grandfather’s pulpit preaching

from a fragrant text of his mother’s hallowed
last words, and the sunset didn’t stop him talking,
nor the dawn, nor the scudding shadows
before the storm broke in an early morning shower.

The university town was in west Texas,
the splendor of short grass barely dried
when the educated girls came to lay territorial
claim like locusts, and Grover cursed

like the sailors he never knew but the father
he thought he knew when he emerged
from childhood’s wreckage, a fever growing
as evening fell and the once relaxed crowd

grew restless with the opening act’s mulligans
when someone pulled down the curtain
and the Ditty Bops were forced to appear
before their time. The stage lit like a firecracker,

Grover watching like some stricken, besotted
lover holding his mother’s tatted lace, singing along,
“And all the voices shut you up
-Someone put a brick in your coffee cup.-“

until the show shut down and the last sound
he heard was his own, as the carnival packed up
and the stars in the big west Texas sky, one by one,
lit up with all the wideness of a father’s arms

and the transport of a mother’s smile, spelling:
who? a geek; where? here; what? endless mystery;
when? now; why? where’s your notebook, you’ve
a new story to write, past the strophe and into the epode.


Click here for lyrics to “Walk or Ride” (2004)
See Shay/Fireblossom's "Word Garden Word List #3 (Grover Lewis)" for challenge and prompt words. In researching for this post, I read "Grover Lewis: An Appreciation" by his friend, Dave Hickey, written for the Los Angeles Times in 1995. It and Katy Vine's "Return to Splendor" really gave me a great appreciation of who Lewis was, the man, the journalist, the poet/writer.
I'm sharing this with dVerse's Open Link Night #305 December Live Edition, our host Björn. Click on Mr. Linky and join in!