Even in China, the fans no longer
give a damn about Deep Purple’s last world
tours, but our town’s Middle School band
conductress still showcases the song,
pushing the tempo fast, baton raised,
under arms swinging fiercely
in a Midwest storm.
Once, cheerleader-sexy under bleachers
in cold November air,
the pride of our county
is now a dry-cleaner’s
hot ticket sweating profusely
in a starched three-quarter-sleeved
The horn section seems to suffer
most – black slacks, starched shirts
wafting Axe – hair water slicked,
ears, cheeks flaming red,
eyes burning through sheet music,
every note blown cavernous
into just some adult shit song.
Disperse the smoke,
Drain the water.
Long stripped of Purple’s
leather pants and sooty asses,
parents love her song choice.
It signals the end of the school year,
dented rental instruments turned in,
locked all summer in their metal cages.
As long as they start and end together,
doesn’t matter what they play in between.
My husband’s own favorite:
Any one hurt?
We fold our programs, let out a collective
discreet sigh of relief, smile as we file
to our cars, a light drumming of rain
on the hoods –
Did we really think we’d ever lose
those heavy booted chords?
No turning back
the worn tape rattles
the car’s speakers’ bass blast,
windshield wipers slashing
the short ride home.