For Bob MacLaughlin

Bob Yesterday we celebrated Bob’s 60th Birthday.

He was given a few hours leave from the hospital–complications from established cancer.

But we remembered to celebrate.

And Bob, couldn’t help but play. He had an audience at the Clyde Drop-In Centre. As Ken (drummer) said, “He’s in gig-mode.”

More of life’s certain pain and enchantment.

I gave him a poem:

Dear Bob,
I remember,
the day a low harvest sun came streaming into your garage,
its rays refracted by stirred up dust,
stirred by moving feet, light feet,
all motion behind microphones and drum skins,
pulsed by bass and bass pedal,
and voices, and harmony almost like falling water,
and you, Bob,
standing behind your intimate one,
a red three-thirty-five Gibson, holding her,
casual, familiar, like a long time lover,
that day, I thought I might die with delight.
Later—on that week’s end,
up under the lights,
you vibrate,
your eyes alive, full of cherry light and mischief and the ghost of Elvis.
You scream Nadine,
and you’re off like a flying fox on your fret board,
and I wonder, with this bubble in my throat,
wonder how it is on that side,
and I wish I could be there with you.
Your home on stage.
On a dime you joked our hearts into springtime,
until we groaned for you to stop.
But you kept laughing just the way we wanted you to.
You bragged once, to someone I don’t recall,
how I could bend two strings with my ring finger,
and so I followed you, married to a new possibility,
and new music.
When our lives fell apart you patched yours with music,
always music to staunch the bleeding,
shoring yourself up,
with your red guitar.
Well, you understood her moods.
She would lie like a scarlet sunset in your hands.
Or like a crimson dawn,
she anticipated your moves and played for you,
even in the still-dark.
Wrapped in her six strings you gave her your nine lives,
give her still, and she gives back,
and in that giving you gave us a part of our own lives,
a part that’s bright and still burning.
You my friend,
always adding more melody to this need-filled world,
and to this lonely-hearted world, more music.

September 30, 2007

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  1. That’s beautiful Steve. Seeing — really seeing — and experiencing, living fully, and being thankful for it, putting words to it all, while there’s still time, is a gift.

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