Here is a poem by Bobby Rogers lifted directly from AGNI Online. And here's a link to another of his poems which appeared on Poetry Daily a few years ago: "Paper Anniversary."
Jerry Lee Lewis Plays “That Lucky Old Sun” at Bad Bob’s Vapors Club, Memphis, Tennessee
I’ll tell it if you let me, my story of those nights we spent watching
the Killer playa smoky room down on Brooks Road, almost to State Line. Can’t you
hear the noteof reverence in my voice, the sweet pity of tragedy? Even when he wasn’t
half trying,the songs fell from his lips so sorrow-encrusted and smoldering, so
flavorful I’d swearthey’d been basketed from the roiling grease of a deep-fryer, his offhand
renderingof “That Lucky Old Sun” owing nothing to Ray Charles, and everything.
Show methat river...take me across. There was an inwardness to how he spoke
the song, owningthe piece for just that moment, his leaning over to tell the microphone
what he had to tell itso personal an act we were almost shamed by our fascination.
The song’s a prayer,another brief hymn to the emptiness inside us and what we
hope might cometo fill it. On the piano a cigar was cocked and cold in the ashtray,
waiting to be relitwhen the song was done. Just a night of sight-seeing, September 1988,
gone slummingto hear the great and forgotten, none of us quite young enough to be
young anymore.The Vapors Club was exactly what you’re imagining, show starts at ten,
five dollar coverat the door. The gray-blue light, where there was light, had grown so
stale and cloudedit seemed to have clabbered, and even the shadows in the shadowy
room were bowedwith the weight of something I didn’t have a name for. The regulars
bore it like soldiers—paying customers flammable with hairspray and spent chances,
slickened with a whiskey glow,Ten High bourbon redistilled through their pores, sugary and volatile.
Everyone in the placehad twenty years and a marriage or two on me. They’d lost something
time took, the edgesof experience as fine and full of meaning as the cuttings in the grooves
of an LP recordplayed too many times on a console stereo in the living room, a
diamond stylus harrowingits windy memory from the satiny grooves. I was just learning to love,
tallying what costto lose myself as one long breath into another person, not knowing
what would be left of meonce I was drawn back into myself. There is a point past which we will
never again be ableto call ourselves detached, but on that night it was just music, a man
punishing a pianofor wanting to keep something clenched in the tension of its iron harp,
just a few hourstaking us toward another night’s savory fatigue and upending, the
insects’ pulsed cries measuringwhat was left of the year’s heat, parking lot gravel crunching underfoot,
then the car boundingover the curb back onto Brooks Road, the bar smells we would wear
for awhile, dance sweatand menthol 100s, hair spray and Kiwi shoe polish, spray-on perfume.
Then the drivingback to Midtown and our own shabby rooms, the car windows down,
details of the skylineedge-etched to the windshield, unheavened, sense-bound, all of us
silent and rehearsingour arrangement of the night’s sharps and flats, a version shaped
to suit our own dying voices.
Bobby C. Rogers
from Agni Online, 10/2008