portion of the artwork for klipschutz's poetry

“My Little Rocket-in-the-Pocket Operas of Escape”

Springsteen always sounds just about to say
what I can’t admit that I know
It always makes me wanna call it a day
when I hear him on the job radio

—“Job Radio,” The Johnny Dollar Four, 1978

Heroes get harder to find, and can be action figures
to succeeding generations. Take Bruce—

who led his flock across the river
to 52nd Street on a mythical Saturday night.

A rough ride for his fans
when he married into Hollywood

but mistakes got unmade; he found
a Jersey girl with balls.

Then came the headband, the stadium show,
three fluid hours on his feet, sweating

up against the Big Man’s chest,
the common man a polestar, Boss for real.

Rumor has it he fined members of his band
for touching his guitar

and if world peace was hanging in the balance,
could not identify a carburetor.

Music took him places the Marines wouldn’t go,
that Madame Marie could not predict,

and by way of Tom Joad, to the sinkhole of politics.
The band stayed together, in rock years, forever.

In his mansion, more than anything else,
it was said he’d rather slouch in front of the tube

watching Alan Ladd as Shane with the sound on mute,
distractedly strumming an acoustic, sneaking

up on a melody that once lassoed
could be a family home for orphan lines

pulled from his stack of identical
marble-covered composition notebooks.

At Rutgers a professor turned his songs
into a seminar in the Department of Theology.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 43 | Spring 2014