the guitar player

he came from South Carolina
with his young wife and
two kids
had a new red truck
and a guitar.
he sang
came to Hollywood
you know
how it is
when the hometown folks
tell you
how good you are.
he got a job with a
landscaping outfit
living in that
front court with his
wife and two kids.
I got to know him
went down and
drank with him
listened to him
sing–
not bad
not great
but not
bad
but like you know
that neighborhood
was full of guitars
and singers
not bad or great
but
good.

his name was
Rex
and then Rex
met another guy
lived in a back
court
named Del.
Del sold grass
and pills and
chippied with
H.

Rex started to
hang with Del.
I didn’t care much
for Del
he had a mongrel dog
he kept tied
on a rope
and
he beat the dog
too much.

soon Rex
stopped singing
and he
stopped working.
his wife
got a job
cleaning house
for some rich guy
in the hills
and maybe the
attendant duties
he gave her one
of his cars
and the kids ran
up and down
the courtwalks
and I didn’t see
Rex much
anymore
he just stayed
in his court
with the shades
pulled down.

I asked his
wife, “is Rex
all right?”

“he’s got the
sleeping sickness,”
she told me.

well
Rex lucked it
one day
he
looked around
put his family
his guitar
and
a few things
into that
red truck
and drove
all the way back
to South Carolina.

soon after that
Del o.d’d
and they
carried him out
in a
zippered-up
black bag
an old one
and his
naked feet
stuck out of
the bottom
as they took him
down the walkway.

somebody took
the mongrel
and Rex’s wife
wrote us
from S.C.
that Rex was
singing again
he was thinking of
going to Nashville
and he had
a job

and it
was nice
that
they had met us
we
were the only
people
in the court
who had
a little flower
and
vegetable garden
in front
of our place
and Rex
says
“hello”.