“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray
There was a heat wave. There was a hotel room. There was someone I wanted to fuck. On the TV there was news of the murder of someone I knew. There was a fake fireplace and above it the changed-channel fauxed radio, soul survivors of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Is this embarrassing? There was that singer. There was that song about the saving company of songs. Like poems, songs can ripple the space-time continuum of our lives. Artists-in-residence of the interstitial realm between time-based and static, they invent inhabitable pockets of looped and looping time. Hit right, we are juke-boxed, played through by a vivid now infused with past and future knowing, played again. There was a heat wave, a hotel, someone, a murder, and in the narrow envelope of that smooth croon I was portaled—it went on for weeks, three minutes at a time—into and back out of the repeat beat of loneliness and lust and comfort and grief that was right then my certain uncertainty, my animal present, capable momentarily of reaching a little less irritably after mysterious facts and doubtful reasons.
Lisa Olstein is the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Little Stranger (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). A chapbook, The Resemblance of the Enzymes of Grasses to those of Whales Is a Family Resemblance, will be published by Essay Press this fall. A new full-length collection, Late Empire, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon next year.
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