Proximity to the Gods

(for The Beatles)</em>

Clouds covered the sun, threatening rain
the day "The Beatles" came out
the anthology known as "The White Album"
My brother stood in line for hours to purchase the disc
first in our neighborhood to own one

He transported the recording in a brown paper bag
When lifted, the stark white cover shined
like Gabriel's halo on the night of annunciation
It was later marred by an inadvertent spill of soda
but on that twenty-fifth day of November 1968
it disappeared with him into the cavern of his room, pristine

When he positioned the disc on his pea-green turntable
touched the diamond-tipped needle to its shiny surface
I quickly forgot the heater that no longer worked
the relatives who no longer visited
the drunk neighbor who slipped his hand
down my nine-year-old shorts
Magical melodies effectively transported
sweet refuge from a life disfigured
where fathers abandoned their families
where mothers left behind drank themselves to sleep

The Beatles were for me like gods
and I always wanted to be with the gods
or at least in close proximity
On that overcast afternoon, charmed
by Rocky Raccoon and warm guns
I came back from the USSR
hopeful that in the end it was the love I made
that could sustain me in the dead of night
and like the blackbird singing
I too could learn to fly