Keith Richards I Was With You
after Life by K. Richards
I was with you, Keith Richards, even when
you rhapsodized about those sweet honeys
who fed you and warmed you on the road
with their soft bodies—
those were different times and I forgive you.
Keith Richards, I believe you about Mick Jagger—
front men always get ahead of themselves.
Keith Richards, I too, only ingested high quality
pharmaceutical grade coke and wouldn’t touch
what passes for euphoria on the streets today.
Keith Richards, I was with you like a friend
as you presented the best version of Keith. May
I call you, Keith? I was with you all the way until
you opened your garden gate and stepped into
my primeval forest. “That happy hunting ground
of the Iroquois.” The old Indian burial ground
turned nature preserve backing up to your house.
I was with you Keith Richards and the deep lake
and the waterfall. Keith Richards, I stood apart
from you when you and George decide to catch
fish named Oscars, so big and so tasty.
I was off to the side when instead
you caught the mythical snapping turtle, often
spoken of, seldom seen. Green and slimy
it lumbers out of the lake with your fish.
A prehistoric creature, its mouth about to pop
and snap— you drop your rod, pick up a rock
and crack the turtle on its shell, it sinks
into the lake, immense, ancient,
last seen by the Iroquois
and that is where I left you, Keith Richards.
Little Did We Know
What if you say “It’s Mommy,”
and the answer is, “Who?”
There is no name for what I have—
my motives are not pure. The doorbell
rings, look who’s here. Dream
or nightmare? Why are you crying?
Because you know it’s not real.
I drive with the windows down
and the volume up through the forest.
I want the leaves to absorb the chords
of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro Overture
and burst into color. They arrest
the teacher for child abuse because
she sees a tiny flame and stokes it.
I want to pay tribute to the promise
of the future— even on the map it seems
far away. The students changed:
virtuosos, painters, sculptors, artists.
I am sorry to bother you with this—our son
is a prodigy, now he has a way out.
I am listening. One of these days I will
write a concept album. You act like you
never received a present before?
We came here for the music,
a place to run to—I can barely swim.
You’ve done your good deed. I do not
want to be saved. The future rests
inside the future. The street light casts
a red glow on the wet pavement.
It’s an awful risk.
Suzanne Frischkorn is the author of Lit Windowpane (2008), Girl on a Bridge (2010), and five chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Copper Nickel, Diode, Ecotone, Indiana Review, Puerto del Sol, and Verse Daily. New poems appear, or are forthcoming in House Mountain Review, Unlost Journal, and Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy (Trinity University Press 2020). Her honors include the Aldrich Poetry Award for her chapbook, Spring Tide, an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Writer’s Center, and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
Photo: “Gray Channel,” from Buddy Beaudoin’s Pedalsmut Series