for Bob Dylan

in my dream they call him the saddletramp.
he has a battered, pawn-shop guitar, rags
for clothes, a head full of greese and that far-
away look in his eye. he goes from town
to town, singing his strange songs in a
caustic growl. everyone knows who he is,
but no one knows him. he never speaks
except to sing. men back away
warily, women comfort him between white
sheets, but fear he has stolen their soul.
after the fact, he smokes cigarettes, blows
rings of smoke that stay motionless in the air.
time warps around him, wraps around him.
his guitar strings tremble like a trapeze-
artists' high-wire, make an odd music no
one can wash from their head. wherever
he goes there is the sound of this music,
invisible and insistent. the old horse
he rides staggers under the terrible weight.
he's only a tiny man, yet his shadow is
enormous, darkens entire towns with light.

What Hank Said

In those harrowing final days
when she kept deteriorating in
that terrible hospital room, I'd
hold her hand and tell her the
darkest hour was right before
the dawn. We both wanted
to believe it.

But I was wrong, I was
There was no dawn.
It was like Hank Williams singing
"I Saw The Light" --

years later as
he lurched towards his own
he said he was mistaken,
that there was
no light,
no light at all.

The Watchers

On her grave I have placed
little ceramic animals --
a horse, a dog, a cat,
her favourites. I like to think
they watch over her as
she sleeps or whatever it is
the deceased do
on the other side,
maybe it is she who is
watching over the animals
even that they're watching
over each other as
the summer grasses
grow wild over the grave
and the warm winds
blow through
cemetery eternity.

Photo: Manchester, 1966

The stage-lights hit him
in such a way that Dylan
appears to shimmer like
a heat-mirage. Robbie
Robertson looks on, mouth
agape, as though he can
see it, too. Dylan points his
electric guitar at the ground --
a smoking gun lowered following
a clean kill. A vast tangle
of microphones and cables
cast a sinister Rorschach
shadow on the drum kit.
Two lone faces peer out
from the audience, spellbound.

Glenn W. Cooper lives in Tamworth, Australia
and has been publishing in the small press
and beyond for six or seven years.

His latest chapbooks are "Some Natural Things"
via Kamini Press; "Outrun Your Fate" from
Lummox Press and "Rimbaud In The City:
10 Snapshots" via Kendra Steiner Editions.

2008 Underground Voices