My friend, spoken-word poet Mike Amado, died two weeks ago. I was kinda hoping if I didn’t ever write that he is gone, somehow I could pretend it was all in my head. When I think of Mike, I can almost hear his unique laugh, remember the funny e-mails he sent that kept me company during long afternoons and evenings spent writing in the library, re-appreciate the supportive comments he made after reading every poem I’ve ever posted. A few of his comments are on this blog. I’m a citygirl who loves the sounds of Boston. We both dug vinyl rock, and we had some good conversations about my beloved Steven Tyler. Mike could tell you which flipsides of 45’s became bigger Aerosmith hits than the singles originally released, and he was very proud of his Native American heritage; what I miss most is the musician’s spirit, best heard through his drumming while reciting poems.
How the City Sounds Without You
[For Mike Amado]
“Oh, yeah, life goes on…long after the thrill of living is gone.”
–John Cougar Mellencamp
First, I’m on Huntington, singing all loud and wrong
with my radio, but people look at me funny, so I gradually
quiet down, turn it off. Odd that it’s okay to scream into
invisible phones, but singing to one’s self is just, plain weird.
It’s been a few weeks since word came that you were gone.
But, suddenly, just now something’s gone wrong with my ears.
Cars, trucks, bikes glide down Mass Ave into noiseless gridlock.
Angry faces flame red, moving, but saying nothing at all.
That couple waiting at the bus stop–well, they appear to be
arguing, faces scrunched and rude, then turned on that dude
on his way to McDonald’s with his hand out for contributions.
He’s speaking to me now. Hunh? Did he ask for a dollar?
I guess the bells still ring at the Christian Science church.
Berklee boys tumbling in the snow must be laughing. For, surely,
music still exists. I wouldn’t know. All that I can hear, finally, is
an Earth grown far too silent without the voice of your sweet drum.