John Prine

John Prine died today. He was my first concert. He wrote every song I love that I don’t remember who wrote. He wrote this poem, too, but he wrote it through me. I’ll miss him. One day I’d like to see him again.

I had a feeling I could be someone.

You’ll only feel by listening 

to the same song

fifty versions

but none better than the downtown boy

with hair like Dylan

accepted to Yale when I was

but dropped out 

and now plays to a Farmers’ market audience–

an empty picnic blanket and me. 

At 24 years old,

he looks more like twelve

and sings folk like a wizened bluesman.

Will he go anywhere

or stay in Fairfax forever,

wearing the same uncool shoes

as the classmate I bullied in 4th grade. 

If America’s misfits come to San Francisco

and SF’s go to Oakland,

where do Oakland’s go?

We’re only fifteen miles north of The City,

but you can believe in the stars having a plan for you

and we’ll still believe in you.  

If you move too quick,

you hit the speed of loneliness

like a too-fast car,

breaking the sound barrier,

collapsing into yourself,

emptying out.

We all feel that way. 

Some of us become. 

We all pass away.