I’m in the band—pasty, bald Beatle
blowing my reedy whateverophone,
alive with groove in pale alien feet.
Look around: brutes, killers, smugglers,
dopey-eyed young dreamers—
they never tip the entertainers,
rarely clap. I want to see them dancing,
doing the jackboot stomp, the one-armed clop.
They’re busy plotting heists &
furiously drinking while my buddies
slide & hip-sway, swing & bop.
Our music isn’t for these heavies.
We wrote it to save us from boredom
in a universe that ignores us,
background players in biographies
of strangers. We’re part of a larger story
we won’t learn except in rumors.
May the rancor never take us.
At least for now we’re having fun.
Hey, old timer, buy us a round.
Feel that sacred music in your bones.
Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021), I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.