Kurt Cobain has been dead for twenty years now
and the roosters crow
and the dogs bark
and time stops for no one.
It feels like yesterday
I was seventeen
paying for gas with a jar full of pennies,
getting Rich’s cousin to buy us beer
and sitting around the bonfire
until the last embers cooled
but the radio played on
as we watched dawn’s early light
on the horizon.
Twenty fucking years,
and we were just kids
when he died.
And Janis and Jimi and Jim,
they’ve almost been dead now
for twice as long as they walked this earth.
And for some reason,
I woke up today
to my island alarm clock,
these chickens, dogs and crickets
providing the chorus
for this Sublime song
stuck in my head.
And I remember
the first time I ever heard Bradley Nowell sing.
It was July 1996,
I had just turned twelve
and I remember
because Annie was also twelve years old.
My sister and her best friend
were in the back seat giggling
as they listened to the disc-man
after taking the headphones back from me
while we sat in traffic
on Route 6,
on the Cape for summer vacation.
And Bradley Nowell has been dead for eighteen years now
and had already been dead for two months
as I listened to Sublime for the first time
in July 1996,
and felt bad for the Annie he sang about
and felt bad that he was dead,
and felt bad that I didn’t have a disc-man of my own
and all these years later
I’m older now than he will ever be,
and stuck in time
with the younger Kurt Cobain
and Janis Joplin
and Jimi Hendrix
and Jim Morrison
these folks who spoke to the teenage me
but I didn’t hear
what they were trying to tell us
until years later
when I closed my American prayer book,
and around the time that Amy Winehouse joined the twenty-seven club
I was twenty-seven too
and wondering if I should make it forever.
Did they all see the world
for what it really is?
Are we too far gone?
Fucked up beyond repair?
But then the rooster crows again
and grounds me in the present.
It’s still early here,
five in the morning
and I’m still half dreaming
and this is all an illusion anyhow,
So I put on my headphones
and let Saint Jim read me his poetry
over some funky beats
while the battery
on this i-phone 3 my brother gave me
when he got an upgrade
and I stare at the Buddha statue on the bookshelf
and dawn’s early light
creeps through the window.
As I try to meditate on Jim Morrison’s spoken word,
my mind keeps wondering…
I’m a badfish too?