It took the news from Indochina a month
and a half to make its rounds in an email
from one of the original gang, a line...
was it true, did you hear anything?
Listening to Neil Young songs with too many
shots of Irish whiskey, you question:  how
could this have happened without you
knowing it, without you somehow feeling it?

Thirty-five years ago you lived together, shared
the large kitchen and bedrooms of an old
Alabama farmhouse, cheap and just far enough
out of town to allow your amplified riffs.
Cows gazed in a near-by alfalfa field,
always there, just beyond the open windows:
a sight, the sort young guitar players remember
to poignantly write and sing about.

He'd light up every morning, rolling skinny
almost elegant joints from the kilo
he'd tossed carelessly in the top left drawer
above a jumbled collection of spoons and forks.
He'd sit in your car, a free-loading passenger
while you drove to work, talking of women, music,
lives that would eventually take you far apart,
make you yearn to visit his Ex-pat retreat.

Then, he only dreamed of the motorcycle he would
finally ride, his mind as open as the road before him.
Warm Thai wind blowing his wrinkled face, long
hair back into the smooth lines of his youth.
A wind that released him completely as he deftly
took the corner and drove headlong into the cow,
wandered in from a near-by field, sudenly
there, just beyond his window of sight.

(Published in River Poets Journal 2017 - Special Edition "Windows" Volume 11 Issue 1