Bro, by Tom Ewart


Tom Ewart

The one who called me that left
to clear a friend's land in a Florida swamp;
he got into trouble (his favorite riff)
with sex 'n' drugs but no rock 'n' roll,
that came later while serving his time,
eight to fifteen at Rahway state.

I sent him my cheap imitation Strat
that nevertheless could work up a wail;
in exchange, his someday soon to be ex,
big with an oil rigger's child, dropped off
his battered acoustic; I set it straight
(or at least not so bent) and named it Bro.

We used to play the bar where we met;
he closed his eyes and chased his demons,
the flail of his chords cutting wheat from chaff;
I darkened the doorway with my scratch 'n' sniff;
we midnight rambled, Dickie and Duane,
two like minds voiced in one breath.

What bonds us now is that shot of dark wood
chased by a cold beer's fine barley tone,
something between the growl of a scrapyard dog
and the aching sweetness of a dove.
Alone together, we've settled our scores,
working out what's been shared between us.

His closing number invariably asked
what I'd do if he sang out of tune,
wondering would I stand up and walk off alone.
No, Bro, it's hard enough to find someone
to share the song. So, just c'mon home.
My inner ear's still balanced to your hum.

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