Wednesday, February 23

They Were Great, Those Shows

We saw The Mounted Stairs. It was clear
The moment they came on stage why they’d risen
To the almost stars. Why that tall girl outside
Tried bribing me to sell her my ticket. But no,
I didn’t want to have her car, or shampoo her
After the show, and fatherhood is something happened
Long ago and twice was two blessings Thank You
But they were enough. The Mounted Stairs deserve
Signing by a major label before they break up,
Fine marble smashed by a pickaxe. Melody and beauty
Is manifest in their Oh! the keyboard player. Icy stares eyes
See more than man can know. Frosted marriage.
Arkansas Pete brought his one-man band to town.
Town is only a short walk from out-of-town, so we walked
In and sat down on three-legged stools and drank
Half-baked beer while Pete did his Arkansas thing.
It’s a shame they’re closing this venue down. It’s a shame
They’re going to demolish it and build a hospital,
Or an airport if they have to fall back on Plan B. This is
The traditional home of lost causes; we’ve always
Enjoyed ourselves here. Quietly comfort zone alliance
Teachers’ night out. And shall I ever set eyes on my
Favourite ever barmaid ever again before I depart this life?
We started to think we were going to too many
Shows. Did we not have other things to be doing with
Our free time? Dan his badge-making, Steve his fire-
Starting, Mary’s protest marches, Rover fetch his stick.
But our encroaching uncertainment was put to flight
By Colourful Parrots In Exotic Locations.
“The Standard Lamp of Very Niceness” is my record
Of the year so far not counting that one by Keats. But
They are not fey, as has often been claimed. Identity
Theft is one of their variety of themes, which explains
The frocks and the headgear. Also I am delighted
By the way they use ancestry to add authenticity to
Their songs of happiness handed down from generation
To generation. Randy’s father is wheeled on stage
And joins in the chorus of “I Told You So”, and
Great Aunt Mab raps the break on “Garbled”.
Also I have never seen such tremendous dancing on
Top a Roland keyboard. Mandy looks heavy but must be
Filled of feathers. Rapture bird wire ballad skill.
Is a bad night to go into town. Bald thugs
Take over the marketplace, their women hurl lovingly
Hand-crafted spit-soaked insults at passers-by.
But we had to see The Thinking Men at The Social
Because this is their farewell tour: the drummer
Is going for an astronaut, and the lead singer
Has realised his future is with poetry and not song.
These people had to be seen, freak show,
Insane move career decision bad choice catalogue.
They were good, very good. Some of their songs
Were made of plastic and some of them were
Wood and steel. Occasionally music wafted from
The stage although nobody was doing anything
Except drag on a cigarette. Later that night I barely
Slept for thinking of the questions they had placed
Inside my head, like a modeller putting a tiny pilot
Into the cockpit of a tiny Harrier Jump-Jet, like
A suspicious gardener sowing a seed of doubt in
What he suspects is not a real garden, my kids
Putting their hearts into my hands and their faith
Into my proven cloudiness. On Sunday morning
I awoke when a door slammed somewhere in
My building, and the sun was shining through
The window. Then the phone rang and I lay in bed
Wondering who it was, but I didn’t get up to find
Out, I stayed there, thinking about the questions
The Thinking Men had placed inside my head,
If I would ever be able to put them into words.

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