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POEM: “Back On The Chain Gang” / “Fotos y Recuerdos”

“Back On The Chain Gang” / “Fotos y Recuerdos”

I know this song because of Selena,
which is odd because I seem more
like a Pretenders guy at first glance.

You were rehabbing houses in Tucson,
I was playing nights in a latin dance band.
We were listening to a lot of music in Spanish.

When she died it was like a day of mourning
settled on the city. The guys you worked with
sang along to her songs on the radio and cried.

We moved to Japan and watched
Jennifer Lopez (a new name to both of us)
play Selena in the movie.

We rode the trains to work, probably
the only people on the Yamanote Line
swaying gently to “Como la Flor.”

All these years later I still think of
late-night burrito runs to Los Betos
when I hear her music, or else

watching Domino sleeping in a patch of sun
on the floor of our apartment in Yokohama.
Photos and memories.

/ / /

6 September 2023
Charlottesville VA

This is poem 47 in a series called 50 Days Till 50 Years. I’m writing a poem a day for the 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday. I’m going to try to focus on memories of my past, and the people who inhabited it.

Published in 50 Days Till 50 Years Music My poems Poetry Tucson


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