A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms
It was a job, he was paid to be lonely.
Customers slowed to a trickle as the night
wore on. He was saving up for a Camaro.
He rang up cat food, diapers, cigarettes.
Inside the store time stopped, while outside motion
hummed in all the wires, though the street was dead.
Though North Main was dead—
Mobil barren, Exxon deserted, PowerTest lonely—
he drank bitter coffee and dreamed of motion,
a noisy bullet ripping the night,
Thin Lizzy, Jim Beam, cigarettes
in a destiny-seeking missile, ’69 Camaro.
He knew, somewhere deep, that this Camaro
was a second-hand dream from someone long dead.
You can’t survive on delusion and cigarettes.
The voices on the radio only made him more lonely.
He knew his dreams wouldn’t last through the night;
like a freezing man, his only hope was motion.
So, static in the store, his mind was in motion,
wiping his hands on his jeans, slamming the hood of the Camaro
thinking “This could be the night,
only this moment is alive, my world is dead,”
thinking, “How can you be lonely
with rock & roll and cigarettes?”
Easy. Rock & roll and cigarettes
and Jim Beam and motion
can be pretty damn lonely
with or without a Camaro
when your soul lies dead
in an airless night.
It was a job, he worked the night
shift, ringing up milk and Lotto and cigarettes.
The singer sang “ready ready ready” but the singer was dead.
A fly and the clock hands were the only motion.
If only he could save up enough money for the Camaro,
he wouldn’t be so lost, so lonely.
He closed his eyes. He had to put his plan in motion.
For $475 he could buy Joey Hoyle’s ’69 Camaro.
The door opened. The phone rang. The radio played “Only the Lonely.”
Dave Morrison resides in coastal Maine, after years of playing guitar in rock-and-roll bars in Boston and New York City. His work has been featured in literary magazines and anthologies, and read on Writer’s Almanac. Clubland (Fighting Cock Press, 2001), a collection of poems about rock bars, is his seventh book.