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Tom Barlow

When the Music's Over

the first time a young person
yields hir seat on the bus to me
I will throw down / my target
dressed in bell bottoms and tie-dyes /

head band and peace sign /
following me like I was holding
a joint behind my ear / on my way
to The Lizard King's grave /

past the ghosts of American flags
we flew upside down in front of
the White House / back in the day
when we loathed ourselves for

all the faces our people trampled as
we scrambled to hold the high ground /
but the shame did not outlast
the costume / and our zero sum games

meant that ambition had to build
a bonfire of our poems and guitars /
we escaped Love Street by
that light / but the suckers who

staked themselves to 1968 right
through the heart found that
their blood at retail would
barely pay for the time machine

that set them down here to see
how the clouds carry such regret
for riders on the storm.


Tom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His writings have appeared in  journals and anthologies including  PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji,  The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at tombarlowauthor.com.

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