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Lawrence Bush
March 9, 2018

by Sherman Pearl



For Randy California


MY REMOTE wasn’t looking for you, dear nephew,

just surfing the net for something rich to divert me

from the garbage, and there you were, on video,

guitar screeching a rock tune.  The lyrics were


drowned out by fans screaming their love, cheering

you back from the ocean that had pulled you

into its silence, then buoyed you back to the surface

for a farewell gig at the end of your tour.


I watched you emerge, playing yourself

all the way home; music was the wave you surfed,

riding its glitter and turmoil, singing its roar,

dancing on its foam without missing a beat.


I’m way too old now to hear the music I missed

but I jumped from my seat like teenage fan

who might’ve followed you into that rip tide.

I might’ve, too, had I understood your depths.


Sherman Pearl is co-founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival. He co-edits California Quarterly and is the author of six books of poetry, including Elegy for Myself (2015).

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.