happy birthday fred
the big 5-0
altho not really
but i will be (hmmm)
how does it feel to be 44 forever?
once you would have said
"i'd rather see what 50 is like
and don't ever say 'he's in a better place...'
if i was going to go to a better place, i may have chosen brazil"
but what would you say now?
i wanted to tell people about you
nobody told better stories than you
a cigarette in one hand, a coffee in the other
the stories lasted until dawn...
fred drake born january 28 1958
taft california near bakersfield
died joshua tree california june 20 2002
and this is the music that was playing
once upon a time
because that's where all stories begin
in a land that was once an ocean
and still retained that sort of pull
the alluring landscape
the rush of a cosmic breath
the depth and the breadth
the inescapability of birth and death
the boundlessness the bountifulness
there rode a cowboy angel
upon an arabian stallion
playing slide guitar as la mujere
sang to la luna.
one spring morning he wandered up the road.
there was room at the inn
and the party was just about to begin.
but first, there was a moment of silence, of reverence.
there was a calm before the drums.
a deep sigh of silence before the dance.
and then there was a celebration.
the first new years eve after you left
we could see you on a star
cradled in orion's arms.
but when you were here
we celebrated in the monument,
hey, remember when mario sang nature boy
for elia's birthday
on top of a rock up in ryans
i can still see your wide smile
under the brim of your cowboy hat
as your father the texas oilman
stood there holding the flashlight
for the fine naked gay black man.
those are the kind of moments fred inspired.
after you died it seemed like a dozen more followed behind
mario and brenda and gregg and sabu and noah
kyoti and gothic and ben and hazel and
as hard as we tried we couldn't stay together
when the wind blows
spirits move around
passing right through the walls of our houses
they penetrate our bodies
and they brush up against our bones
scattering seeds everywhere
and after the wind died down
and the horses stopped screaming
you could not hear a coyote
or that lone truck downshifting up the morongo grade
and it seemed like everyone was gone
on christmas morning i received the news
that a child was to be born
and so he was
when the last of the stallions was called home
and when the child was born
this is the music that was playing
and from the dust in this desert
and from the friction of bones and flesh
the child bears traces of your soul
now we look out the window and see
galleries and minstrels
red arrow and the art queen
and black haired boys in black clothes with skulls
with bleach blonde girls who dare to show dark roots
bearing their scars, their hearts
waving to white buses
filled with the returning soldiers
and i know the work you'd begun
is coming to fruition
a lone pilgrim brokeback cottonwood tree
white and naked as winter
stands in a garden with it's arms outstretched
limbs like elegant fingers
pointing in the direction of spring