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HILARY SIDERIS
Four Keith Richards Poems

1972 WORLD TOUR

I'm told I was driving
a yellow El Camino, cockpit

stocked with pure Merck coke,
across the Arkansas state

line. No back roads, no 4-Dice,
stick to the interstate,

our lawyer warned us.
Better yet, boys, take a plane.

I pitied Mick-his need for
flattery, his giant cock

inflating as he sang star
fucker, star, but he's the one

who put a suit on, charmed
the mayor of Fordyce.

*************************************

ALTAMONT

High mountain meant
a field of muddy Harleys

where we played for free,
Hell's Angels as security,

we played for love-hate
& communal anarchy.

You hear it all on Gimme
Shelter
, the black heart

of human nature, mixed
with rotgut Thunderbird

& bad acid. Was there such
a thing as Flower Power?

We caught a whiff of it,
a headwind from the Haight,

but that night as the dark
came on, we sang in terror,

stage lights in our eyes.
You couldn't see shit.

I had a knife on me
& no idea how to use it.

*************************************

CHESS

2120 South Michigan,
the holy house of Chess,

the room where every song
we loved was cut---Willie Dixon,

Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy.
And there's this bloke painting

the place, up on ladder, whitewash
on his face, and it's Muddy Waters!

Marshall Chess denies this,
"We never had Muddy painting,"

but Bill Wyman was there.
He's a witness. The man who

taught us all we knew, lugging
our amps, mopping the studio.

*************************************

ALL GOD'S DANGERS

They rigged chicken wire
between us & the boys hurling

bottles as their girlfriends raved—
Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio.

Janitors cleaning up after, winking,
"Good job, fellas. Not a dry seat

in the house." Damn bobby-soxers
pissed me off, hard as the band

had worked to be bluesmen.
They were dying for something,

coming uncorked when Mick
sang Muddy's Mannish Boy.

We schooled them in their
own country. I'll never forget

the fear of being torn to pieces
by fourteen-year-old girls.

*************************************

Hilary Sideris's new chapbook, Gold & Other Fish, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Brooklyn and works for The City University of New York, where she coordinates programs for nontraditional college students. Her poems have recently appeared in Eclectica, Forge, Salamander, and Zocalo Public Square. Her Keith Richards prose poem, "Keith's Blues," is forthcoming in Rufous City Review.

 



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