From a Former Hotel: An Elegy for Sam Shepard

Make your own myth and live long
Before reality clips you.
Trouble cutting into the handsome
Or some undefinable bite to the air.
Dust smites the eyes as the skin
Beneath and around grows sun beaten,
While the strained music moves you
One horse ride away from the grave.

Poems written. Books. Plays.
Which once came from you as your sex did;
Languorous in effect yet lust driven,
Bitter explosions of words, music spiked.
Then your latching onto the dream
And the first of your great distractions
Which enhanced that myth and let legend
Cover and cake bleached foresight.

You forged a growing landscape for some
As a physical stillness gave anchor
To the pull of the winds and time’s changes
As the tornado you made achieved grace.
So now we are left with those trails
And the way that the shade steals
The Drummer. As death drowns the rhythm
There will be new beginnings as we read
All you’ve written, finding fresh stories
In the photographs left of your face.


David Erdos 29/8/17
Illustration: Claire Palmer


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