Enchantment (for Vampyre Mike) by Joie Cook

Death hits like a final drop from a vodka bottle.
We laugh at cripples until we become them.
There is a rhythm to the night filled with guitars and smoke.

I am thinking of an evening, the two of us drunk, in Nevada City…
the visiting poets from the Café Babar, along with David Lerner,
David Gollub and Laura Conway; doing a high spirited reading
at the Poets Playhouse, later dancing half the night away at some
roadhouse dive…

I am thinking of days in oblivion and chaos at my apartment
in the Mission, just hanging out drinking, reading new scraps
of writing to each other; just sitting around talking…

I am thinking of the crowded stage at the Babar where you
always drew wild frenetic energy from your insanely funny

And, with inner applause
and ringing of enchantment from ears
we believed in something once.

We believed in ourselves.

You, Groucho Marxist!

The instant parties that sprung from your appearances, well,
I’m a little weak from the memories.

We both shared the same disease, after all…

There’s a song for us somewhere, Mike, and it ain’t about vampires.
But I’m sure it’s the ghost dance.

Even when I quit your band, ‘The Welfare Cheats,” you thought would go bigtime,
you were always a little pitchy and I told you so…
Man, could you hold a grudge!

Hey, there was only one Lizard King, okay?

There is a time and a place for everything,
until there isn’t.

But, I am thinking of the wildest nights…


That belt buckle and leather jacket!
Those huge raccoon eyes!
All that goddamned beer!

What a life, until it wasn’t.

We were in a swimming competition
toward the end of our run.
Who could keep his head above water the longest?

You won.
You paddled there first. Or was it me?

Death, you enigmatic bitch!

(Strangest thing that you died first).

Hey, there’s a good bottle of hootch
waiting for you back at my place,
even if you did quit drinking…Let’s toast…
The spirits are waiting…

Hope you rattle the walls
with your screams and laughter ---
Poke the guests with your cane

In the meantime I’m thinking of you
Truth be told, there’s nothing finer than friendship
Even if it wanes from time to time

So, go light a candle for yourself
I’ll do the same
And continue to burn, burn.

©Joie Cook
San Francisco Poet

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