michael nesmith sang “her name was joanne”

The song played– muffled, hesitant,

As if the tabletop jukebox

Seemed unsure of the tune’s suitability,

As out of place and time as ourselves,

It being Wednesday morning three A.M.

At the all-night diner on the Klondike Road

(The mills, going full-bore down the road in Montmorenci Falls

Making such a place viable, indeed necessary),

But we laughed loudly and nonchalantly

Between bites of nearly adequate cheeseburger,

Ostensibly unaware of all that

Which was tangible but unspoken, indeed unspeakable,

This being the last of the last summer not careworn,

Textbooks to be exchanged for neckties,

Plastic sandals swapped for sensible flats,

A mere handful of evenings remaining before the clumsy process

Of untying all that which had been loose ends from the beginning.


Would I go back? In a sense, it does not matter.

There was always a laundry list of reasons

That it could not be, cannot be, will not be:

Irreparably meshed gears of relocations and reconciliations,

Gordian knots of logic and desire.

Still, in my dreams, I often run like a madman,

Chest burning as my sneakers slap the pavement in the darkness,

Back toward the diner, but it has been razed to the ground

(Likely the case, for all I know,

What with the mills silent and padlocked all these years),

And I paw madly, feverishly through the rubble

In search of some remains of those vinyl chanteuses of love songs,

Those epitaphs of our failures,

Those three-minute odes

To our compromised and conditional successes.


(This piece first appeared in Issue 52 of The Other Herald.  Ms. Rice is not only very generous to the lightly published, she puts together a package worthy of your quarterly patronage)





4 thoughts on “michael nesmith sang “her name was joanne”

  1. “Glory Days, yeah, they’ll pass you by,
    Glory Days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye,
    Glory Days, Glory Days…”

    Well, that one’s actually 5:42 long.

    Not many real diners left, and even fewer mills.

  2. Not enough poems these days invoke the “nearly adequate cheeseburger” clause, and now I think I need to bring that more into my life. That sentiment echoes throughout this piece, the idling of life, the plastic shoes before formal flats. That magical time before the big thereafter washes over. Before we have an individual development plan in place. You have done good work, no great work here, Kortas. You steal some moments and preserve them in amber before throwing them at me, and as a reader, you know I like to be shaken, not stirred.

    Viva la

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