Northtown Choir


When the stories are finished, the fire burned down
to a puddle of glittering coals, the guy they call
Spider Eyes picks up a stick and starts smacking
the side of a log. Doling a rhythm out, picking up
tempo and stomping his boots in the sand. My brother
comes in with a railroad spike on a turned-over
bucket of Schwans. Ringing the bass notes clear. 
Holding the backbeat. Stain of the sugar and swan logo
faded forever ago by the rain. The dog begins whining. 
The dude from Montana we only just met begins
working a long pair of spoons. Beat-boxing
awkwardly, blurting out lyrics and grinding his way
through the lines. The dark trees nodding. The black
snakes waiting like pills on the Northtown strings. 
I imagine the scene at a distance. A gang of marauders. 
A wandering posse of infantrymen at the end of a third
world war. Not like the two blonde sons of a pastor, 
the son of a physics professor from Phoenix, the son
of an auto mechanic who beat him and gave him permission
to run away young. Not like the fear we are only
pretending. The faded white scar over Spider Eyes’ eye. 
Not like the hunger we’ve carried together. The wild
and lonely American moon we’ve already left behind.