Walk Away :: reprinted in Quail Bell

Listen :: Bad Religion :: Walk Away

Walk Away
With the smell of dead leaves
    and the biting wind hinting at coming snow
I knew I was home.
    Though New York City is only
one hundred and fifty miles east,
it never has that
     fragrance of late fall
like Pennsylvania –
     the sweet mold of decaying leaves,
the scent of back to school,
and Halloween,
              of days I shivered
                          because it wasn’t cool
    to wear a jacket.

I walk with my hands stuffed
      in the pockets of a Descendents hoodie, too thin
for the weather. Goosebumps
                               prick my body.

Shouting voices grow louder,
                     muffled music escapes
                           the building, and skateboards crack
against pavement. The parking lot is littered
with punk kids, half unloaded vans,
  and boxes of merch  :  T-shirts and records spill
      over the ground.

The windows are still cluttered
with flyers and posters,
Bedford : Nerve Agents : Strung Out
                  A New Found Glory : Abscission
layered underneath
       An Albatross flyer
                             for tonight.

The homemade sign, stenciled and spray painted
     US HOMEBASE
                 hangs above the door.

People mill
   around –
in and out the door
and back in again.
    
I pass by faces
    I almost recognize.
                   A nod or wave
           from former best friends
    as I walk through the crowd.

      We were going to free Tibet,
      feed the homeless,
      and save every cow, chicken, and pig
    from the slaughter house.

    An Albatross is already playing,
their former pop-punk identity
  mutated into this noise-rock-funk-side-show.
I stand in what should have been a pit   :  stare
      as they writhe,
                     his back arched   :   screams pulled from
              somewhere deep in his diaphragm
    the band splayed behind him   :   hunched
           over distorted keyboards and screeching guitars.
      Becoming the descendants of Iggy  
    and the Stooges : the MC5  :  T Rex
             preaching to their new followers,
                   Brothers and sisters…    

  I look to the audience :
      tight jeans, designer sneakers,
          hair messy in just the right way :
    all eyes locked on the performance.
      
     I walk out
without saying goodbye.

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