They hit him with a pool cue so he came at them with a gun.
They killed him with a knife driven into his skull.
Mick Jagger is watching it on tape as the speedway empties
and he must remember seeing it happening as well as here,
where slow motion follows the knife descending,
the rewind puts the dead man back at the beginning
of his slant through the crowd toward the Hells Angels
the Stones hired to control the crowd. The girl in her trailer
said she wanted to go, I got dressed and she gave me a beer,
I thought about it and knew I was going to say no, and did.
His name was Meredith Hunter, a young black dude
with–what the word is now but was not then–attitude.
The girl twirled her blonde hair and fed her cat, I left
and never saw her again. When the year ended I left town
for San Francisco, traveled to New Mexico, then San Diego,
where the story was that Mike, the local chapter’s president
danced on the face of a young woman who said to his face
he was not a man but a beast with no brains, leave her alone
: so he made his mark on her face and bruised her body,
the lady who calls herself the Tabu she loves to smell
says, I didn’t see it but I know the girl, I’ll take you there.
She’s bandaged well, her voice is strong, her name’s Judy.
She says she was just drunk enough to tell Mike her mind
and look what happened to me and he gets to run around
free. I leave. I stay six weeks. I stash my bedroll behind
the bar and shoot pool with the band that leaves its bikes
outside, where I go when I’ve had enough and sleep
in the bag on the grass of the nearby park the cops
arrive at sunrise to prod me awake with their night sticks,
announcing I can’t sleep there. I beg to be forgiven.
Next night I’m back. Next morning I’m told once more
what they said before. I carry a knife. I am nowhere here.
I have a tooth rotting in my head, I go to the Free Clinic
on Labor Day, the Angels’ holiday: all to themselves,
they like to think. In the alley beyond the door I go through
they are drinking, and seeing me I am told by one that if
I want to fuck with people he will fuck with me. I say no
and walk away, the crowd howls, I still wake at night,
I’m far from San Diego, I see the guy take out his teeth
and hand them to another. He’s ready. I keep saying no
and walking away and there is the freeway, the convertible
full of no-goods like me, When the music’s over blaring
off the sunlight on the Pacific, going north, going home.
(9 November 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander