Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
— Bob Dylan, “Like a Rolling Stone”
My girlfriend Sherry asks why Lindsey Buckingham
is so thin as she cradles the album Buckingham Nicks.
This is before he and Stevie Nicks join Fleetwood Mac.
I tell her he’s a rock star and that rock stars are ghosts.
A turntable spins. The small apartment smells of sex,
marijuana. Most of one wall is an Easy Rider poster.
Fonda and Hopper on Harley choppers. In a corner
of the poster a DISCOVER AMERICA sticker.
Saigon is falling. Sherry shows me a Newsweek—
pages of color photographs of helicopters, sailors
shoving them from the deck of the USS Okinawa
into the South China Sea, chopper blades nicking
the rough waters of the Pacific, spinning to a stop
on a turntable-axis of collective national disgrace.
She points to the regimental insignia and US flag.
I rise and stagger to the turntable. Lift the needle.
I know what she wants: any album by Bob Dylan
where two lovers are the A-plus-B in a mathematics
of fulfillment-for-a-little-while, that equation solved
though the republics of the sad earth slide into collapse,
ruin, refugees crowding onto last ships where the deck air
reeks of diesel and human sweat and a blue transistor radio
blares: I see your hair is burnin’/ Hills are filled with fire
If they say I never loved you/ You know they are a liar.