Chuck Berry has died. May he rest in peace.
I will write an extensive tribute later.
He was a Founding Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
He was a Rock ‘n’ Roll Prophet and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Poet.
He was a writer with the immediate understanding of a top class journalist, the widescreen vision of an historian and the timing of a comedian on the stage.
He is one of the greatest chroniclers of American Life.
Hail, Hail, Hail Chuck Berry!
Here he is with a special favourite of mine, ‘School Days’
‘Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You study’ em hard and hopin’ to pass
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone
And the guy behind you won’t leave you alone
Ring ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunchroom’s ready to sell
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here to stay
hell to pay
wish me away
against Miami’s fire
— RINGS DAWN —
souls to sell
beside a shell
“Can’t be filled?
Until the first?”
or but time’s spite
spit into the sea
among the anenomes’
balleting fingers fine
“I’m helpless. Not
in a position
— REGARDS FROM ABROAD —
— THE CHAPEL STANDS —
— THE POPE LIVES ON —
replay the fun
of two before one
against Miami’s fire
I just can’t help you.”
(Variation on a theme by C.T. Strasshofer)
In what god’s footpath
Could running fall?
A constellation’s azimuth?
A bared saber’s glint?
Could a single, pulsing ray of
Kalahari sun fuse me forward?
Or could my own melting lines—my
Blurred tail trailing be
So divined? Should sound explode to
Quiet at my passing—fell floating
Fragments of shattered stained glass
In the dim of a dune-swept mission—
Then what of light?
Could I, Big Cat eyes
Dilated, run on in darkness,
My slipstream waking
Back through time, like the ripple
Of a waterbug’s skate across
A palmed oasis pond?
I run, running until I
Wake to the still reflection of eternity……
Come, leave penguins compressed
To allow no leisure. Come love, leave
The bears with mauling eyes and dripping
Jaws–all are idols of themselves,
Preserved in vaults of names.
The garden of the Brown-Shirted God
Is a four-cornered world mapped
In pitted sands and erased by slow,
Infinite creatures. Leave the self-
Digestion of dreams in the tiger’s cage,
The neurotic laugh of the monkey house,
The minds squeezed dry like sponges.
Few tears escape
From the One-Eyed Jack who hides
His myopic eye and tricks a bone
Weary muse to animate the pacing
And swaying. Hearts die, manned
By minds folded over themselves,
Clubbing their own reflections until
Love lies flush among
The spayed brains.
We ante only a name in this world,
Call with lives and raise with souls.
Our hands, blind hope and balls
Are all we have to track the odds.
Come away, please love,
Leave the safari in the zoo–the fix
Of your Father, and of His Son and
Their hell of ghosts. Our
Caught between target and gun.
We are the death.
We are the hunter.
We are lead lodged
In the heaven of animal hearts,
Or players, full-faced.