Walk Away :: published in Speech Bubble

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
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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