We had watched an enjoyable live music performance at the Anaheim Civic Center. A couple of hundred people at an intimate venue enjoyed the show and had a great time talking to the husband and wife performers, the stars of the show.
We hung around a while talking to friends, then headed out to the dark and nearly empty parking lot. There we saw the performers again, re-packing the guitars around their duffel bags in the crowded compact hatchback. Off to the next show …
Blue (When Mixed With Red)
There were no blue notes in his set
Up-beat banjo hints of bluegrass
He stood tall in blue jeans and knit cap
Light dancing off the face of his guitar
She stood beside him harmonized
Her mandolin stepped high above
His smooth blue voice that called her every night
For twenty years
She was counterpoint to him
Beneath her polished presentation
Danced a restless nervousness
That glowed deep red beneath stage lights
The people loved their act
Stood clapping at the end
The small hall had no backstage haven
So they walked along the wall
And stood there in the back
To autograph a few Cd’s
He walked out later in the dark
Past stragglers beneath street lights
And re-arranged the little truck
To get the amp and guitars in
She joined him and they drove into the night
Where red and blue had mixed up a deep purple
That colored in the shades of gray
Copyright © 2011 Francis Kearns
You were re-assembling
the building blocks,
throwing off the mood of troubled youth,
climbing out of scrimping two-job
low rent downtown apartments.
I was stepping out of
the skin of the classroom boy,
reborn to the sun in the garden,
community food banks, anti-war marches
and the smell of machine shop oil.
We shared the wonder of
warm air on a summer night,
strong coffee and alcohol
and the sound of the blues guitar
bending that high slow note
‘till our souls took flight.
I looked for nothing
beyond the spell
but in brief instants saw
as the kitchen window
set your red bandanna
golden hair aglow
a long road
and in the distance
you and I
Copyright © 2011 Frank Kearns
At four in the morning
The sound of the truck
Plays out its song at the stoplight.
An ode to just one person
Whose children are still sleeping,
Who had coffee in the dark,
And pulled his jacket tight
Against the chill.
I lay here awake:
Another car turns at the light.
It rounds the corner past my house.
Perhaps he’s coming home
Much, much too late.
My mind floats out
To hear the sounds,
And memories of other nights.
A fire truck shrieks through the dark,
And I am a small child,
Watching headlights grow against my wall,
Then veer across the room and out of sight.
I follow them
Across the town
And down the hill
To places decades gone,
To where my mother hears my cry,
And comes to tuck my blanket
Tight against my chin
The light turns green,
The bark of the truck brings me back
To a lone man up early
At a time when each small man
Is heard above the din.
In the Heat of the Night
A time when all the anchors
Are stripped away, and we are naked
In the Still of the Night
And alone, and floating with our fear,
Floating with our feeling
‘Till the dawn.