January 2004 / Volume Five / Issue One
Mather Schneider
The Man in Black

"I find it very very easy to be true,
I find myself alone when each day's through. "

Johnny Cash

09/12/03


It's noon and I'm in the Bayhorse when I hear
Johnny Cash on the jukebox and find out from
the only other guy in there that he died he's
gone and suddenly the beer tastes like bad
medicine and when my head is numb I go
outside and get on my bicycle and ride
toward home in traffic that is bad as
usual hot smelly and I see up ahead
one of those ladies who looks great
from afar but seems to change into
a sort of monster as you approach
she's standing in the middle of a
Circle K parking lot vehemently
scolding the heavens holding up
a bible with both hands obviously
crazy or flicked up on drugs or both
and then she screams and throws the
bible down hard on the pavement as
cars are coming in and backing out
around her trying not to hit her honking
and cussing out of their windows but she
doesn't seem to notice and the bible must
have been an old one because it falls
apart immediately and the pages blow
away everywhere like the homework
of a hit and run victim and I ride by
another guy going slowly on his bicycle
carrying a twelve pack of beer in his left
arm and I ask him if that woman was his
girlfriend back there you know joking and
he just looks at me and says I fucking -wish
with all the seriousness in the world and I
realize he's nuts too well when I finally get
home a thunder of Harley riders erupts on
Grant Road the procession must be at least
a mile long and it sends a chill up my spine
and makes me proud somehow thinking of
ideals like freedom and individuality though
realizing abstractions never pan out or pay
the rent but its more than thinking it seems
to come from somewhere deeper like the
feeling I always get when I hear that great
song about listening to a train whistle from
a jail cell and when the last motorcycle
rumbles away I stand outside and water
my yard until the dragonflies come.
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