The flame was ready at birth – and you
were chosen for the spark, soul brother
number one and every number beyond.
The moves were as slick as the talk, which
grew over the years into a permanent cool.
When they laid that cape over your shoulders
and led you to the side of the stage, we knew
you’d be back – more on fire than anybody
had a right to be. Those moves were not meant
for average feet; living in America was hard
for a man like you, and you kept those feet going
until the last note fell from exhausted lungs.
The fight continues for a legacy that was never
meant to be dragged through dirty soil – your final
rest on hold, those moves never equaled by another
set of feet, oh no say it loud…
I’m pretty sure perfect days
never existed on those streets,
but your songs of the disaffected
ring as true now as they ever did
in those virgin times, when the world
was standing on its own edge, desperate
to raise a fist to empowerment.
You crawled through the underground,
scratching the surface of a new dirt,
and the ones who followed filled in the chords.
If New York was your true love, Laurie was
your last moments, as time and finality
became one. The street poets walk
a bit slower through the winter sludge,
oblivious to the cutting winds and cold;
all tomorrow’s parties on hold.
Cathy Porter's poetry has appeared in Plainsongs, Homestead Review, California Quarterly, and other journals. She has two chapbooks available from Finishing Line Press. She lives and works in Omaha, NE.