The street grid sliced the wind that winter, small
surprises at each corner with the knife-
edge angles pressing at each turn, a wall:
subzero perpendicular to life
we measured on a warmer scale of fife
notes floating in an acid-head Arcadia—
the Beatles subterranean, nightlife
in hick town downtown cafeteria,
the revolution’s bus ride from suburbia.
A script of Hard Day’s Night with doodled strokes,
the pencilled margins and the corner-pleat,
a souvenir of ’64, evokes
the Ipswich Gaumont and the spit-curls sweet
with hormones in a fifteen-shilling seat—
the second performance, eight forty-five,
the audience transfigured in the heat
of chords, suspended on the screams that drive
the middle eight and thrash into the air alive.
The Mersey beat in cut-to-strut drainpipes,
guitars’ four-four and stage of scaffold planks
for tinny amps vibrato archetypes
crank up to Twist and Shout, the fans’ phalanx
as limousines depart: ‘goodnight, and thanks’
McCartney waves, and thousands stand in dumb-
show desperation, waving back from ranks
that sink, rise sobbing, cresting to a numb
hysteric, the electric canon they become.
The artefacts of travellers recall
an antique time by auction and bequest.
The zebra stripes in Abbey Road marked Paul
for resurrection, barefoot with the blessed
where tapes reversed revealed the alkahest
those cults required. A dream world comes adrift,
and decades fade to standing here. The rest
is feedback, lives sold lot by lot, a sift
through shadows where the psychedelic stars redshift.