Matt Borczon

True believer

she was a rockabilly girl

with cool boots and red hair

her eyes were  pin wheels

and I think it was

because I made eye contact

that she sat down at my table

in the coffee shop

I was alone and had

wanted it that way

 

she dumped out her purse

across my table

a pile  of rusty springs

a birds skull and assorted

animal bones costume jewelry

and at least four catholic rosaries

she stared at all of it and said

you can see it can’t you

you can see how serious I am

that this is  the stuff you need

you really need to get clean

 

I know my mind is sick

and I have to do something

these are tools for getting

myself clean and my mind right

my mind is sick

and I have to live with it

have to sleep with it

but I don’t have to let it fuck me

don’t have to let it own me

don’t have to eat with it

you know don’t you

you can see it can’t you

can’t you

can’t you

 

she looks for the first time

into my surprised face and sees

that I don’t know and then

maybe she wonders if she

or anybody  knows anything

her hands fly around like birds

as she stuffs her things back

into her purse then she slinks

away from my table  like

a wet  cat crawling  out of the rain.

A punk kid

today I’m sitting on

an Appalachian porch

in my mind but

beneath my feet

its Erie Pa

I  have a banjo

in my arms like

a lover full of sorrow

as I pick out

the notes to O Death

and sing almost on key

 

I think and remember

asking my dad

why he liked this

hillbilly music so much

back when I was

maybe fifteen

because when you

get old you realize

these are the songs

that tell the truth

my truth anyway

he said as he hummed

along all the way to

the industrial supply house

he worked in

dad never sang along

 

I just remember

thinking how much

I hated country music

and how dumb that

banjo picking hillbilly

sounded and I would

take the Dead Kennedys

any day or Black Flag

or the Ramones

 

but at fifteen

what did I know

about death sorrow

heart ache loss

misery or pain

I’d never had the blues

 

I was a punk rock kid

with no truth yet

to tell.

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