Daydream. Believer. by Kenneth Pobo

Keith visited Aunt Viv in Knoxville when, could luck be so good, he found that The Monkees were performing. October 30. Oh hallowed and sacred day. Yes, Mike wouldn’t be on stage, but… Davy… Micky… Peter. Not nostalgia—this was church, the downtown coliseum a cathedral. Christians had Christmas. Keith had one glorious Colgems label single after another beginning in 1966 when childhood died into a hundred bullies and a class called mechanical design where a twenty-something crew cut demanded that he use a straight ruler. Do nothing by hand. Nothing? Life felt better by hand. Straight rulers, way too straight, cut like a sharp tongue and made protractors tremble.

At thirteen, you find ways to endure. Or you don’t. Tommy Crenwath didn’t find a way out except by hanging himself in the family shed. When his sister found him she thought he was joking. For a moment. Keith found a safe place in music. “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees”—those guys wouldn’t hurt anyone. They even said so: we’re just tryin’ to be friendly.

A yellow jump-suited Davy popped through a screen and sang, a bubblegum priest and Keith part of a great communion. Clownish and sweet Peter. Funny and like a thousand Mary Jane candies had gotten shot out of a cannon Micky.

Keith died three days after the concert. No angels came to coax him into Heaven. At 42, the universe discreetly canceled his contract, nothing personal. It just seemed like a good idea. Go out on top. Of a treble clef.

a straight ruler melts
on the last train to Clarksville
sun on a depot

Kenneth Pobo has a new book of poems from Urban Farmhouse Press called Booking Rooms in the Kuiper Belt. Catch his Obscure Oldies Internet radio show on Saturdays at widecast.