I had finally heard a song
that expressed my wordless mind
and my wordless feelings.
I can’t remember what it was called,
but it was mean, sleazy, and sung
by Mick Jagger. I first heard it
in the passenger seat of a stolen Cadillac
my father hot wired in a grocery store parking lot.
We drove around Rancho Palos Verdes
and those big green hills loomed
in quiet mystery over the violent waves
of the Pacific Ocean, a primal scream
over smoking guitars and a growl of pain,
to a secluded alcove on the private beach
we broke into and we both screamed
when our flesh hit that water to freeze
our shared blood, a primordial howl
into a setting sun where I discovered
my father’s broken dreams
and I began to swim in them
until we were both on the shore
and he whispered into my ear
words I will never repeat,
words that are mine to remember
when we both shared hope
before he disappeared
and his voice greeted me again
in the static fray of a collect call
from a faraway penitentiary
to apologize for a future
when I would be standing
on that beach alone.
is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Cultural Weekly, Literary Orphans, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Spillway, The American Journal of Poetry, The Cape Rock, and Trailer Park Quarterly, among many others. A nominee for Best of the Net and the Pushcart, he lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.