Ed Sullivan Theater, 1964
I wanted to be a singing cowboy, you know.
Got chills when Gene Autry threw his leg over the saddle burn
and sang: South of the border, down Mexico way…
I walked tough, talked tougher, carried a razor blade
behind the lapel of my Teddyboy suit in case I got grabbed.
That was before drums. Before I fell in love.
Before anyone chanted Ringo never, Peter forever
but they kept me anyhow, before America, before New York City
reached up its tentacles to pull us and dropped me here,
sticks like hammers in my hand, mates shadowy
ahead, ready for the lights. From this platform
I see everything: where we are, where we’re going,
even that someday it will end. It’s their band, but they need me
to keep alive the time: the perfect imperfect cadence of blood.