Dallas, the Rocker, and the Redhead

It’s the Cotton Bowl and we’re all too young and the wrong color. Nothing fits the fabrics flimsy the press of the crowd and the thin side of calamity. We’re all here for The Rocker. Jacked up strings and wah-wahs and sweat and you know something’s bound to break. Arm pumps through the sleeve. This night is born. It’s a night in America. Neck and the throat inside and glass bottles smooth, green and a curve too simple to map. The microphones channel it all and only Texas can hold it. The fast songs are electric chairs and Cadillacs, the slow songs freight trains and fevers. On the big screen he wants cover and The Redhead behind puts her voice in us. It’s an infusion of confusion. It’s a steamroller, baby, it’s rock and roll. It’s a dead man’s song. It’s a slung strap. It’s stones. It’s a stadium, toppled. It’s a summer night and stripes. It’s a giant on the screen. It’s dots and static. It’s the drive home and ribbons. That stadium, sticks and powder now. Down and the rising dust. Song the only echo. Sun the only red. Red the only dawn.


Chris Haven’s poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Cider Press Review, Copper Nickel, Blackbird, and Seneca Review. “Dallas, The Rocker, and The Redhead” is about a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1985, and nobody who was there should be surprised that the rocker ended up with the redhead.