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).