David Prasad CC
Rescued from a barn and bird shit, an auction find,
Once the color of perfect skies and candy
Reduced to deep gashes, dull chrome, and kicked in
Speakers. She still lit up when plugged in,
Tube amplifier intact,
The vacant turntable spinning,
Stylus longing to drop on a 45 rpm
And surround the room in heartbreak or joy.
She saw generations of bar fights, couples dancing
Under neon, that one right song that either healed or cut deeper
Than a scalpel. I had to let her go. I had not the time
Nor resources to allow her to shine as she should.
A kind man with a black lab and a red pick-up truck
Came to claim her. I cut him a deal, made him promise
To send pictures once he brought her to new life.
I watched him drive away, overtaken by a feeling
Not unlike seeing a former lover singing her heart out
At a wedding, or karaoke bar, living the life
You just couldn’t afford to give her.
The giant fiberglass scoop
Of what must be strawberry ice cream
In a waffle cone
Remains along with the paint-peeled neon sign.
Weeds have taken hold of the parking lot
And they are not letting go.
Cheeseburgers were served in red plastic baskets
Lined with greasy checkered paper,
Yellow orange soda served in heavy glass mugs
Same as the craft root beer. Cars filled the parking lot
Until sundown when the streetlights ignited
And taillights glowed red.
It stands in building alone, vacant for decades,
But gone the way of the one screen theater
And band concerts in the park. It’s a relic, a corpse on display,
A reminder of when the paper mill offered a pension,
Before the check cashing kiosks, realty signs and empty malls,
Before the meth made some kids pale and far too thin,
Hiding behind thick curtains and broken blinds all summer long.
Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others in the U.S. and U.K. since 1997. He is the author of two chapbooks and two full-length collections. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries, and the number five. He hosts and produces S’kosh: The Oshkosh Podcast. For more information check out https://troyschoultz.wixsite.com/website
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