The Last Troubadour

Standing at the glass-paneled wall of Liza’s kitchen
          at the old house half-hidden

Over a mile up Canyon Road in Joshua’s gated compound

I’m just smoking a joint & looking down at the dusk
          dusting the Malibu lights as they flare

Along the coastline below & I can hear the ripped-up

Buick fenders & Caddy bumpers slammed around out
          in the barn studio as they’re slowly

Torched into art as Joshua moves the spitting arc-welder

Over armatures of rebar shaping a dozen abstract
          guitars or mandolins while its

Acetylene tongue ticks in the black shade of his visor

Once in a while his back-in-the-day transistor radio
          hooked on a nail bent in the wall

Cuts through the sizzle with a hit of his that’s slipped

Lately back into fashion & I’ve watched him slowly lift
          the head of that torch until it angles

Against the turquoise plastic moon of the radio dial

As if he might melt it all back to a few black platters
          — those times as lost as song

More Poems by David St. John