Issue 9: David Cooke (for Peter Robinson)


for Peter Robinson


I was listening to Dylan’s Time Out of Mind,

his late renewal after wasted years

– all simmer and wry despair

to find that maybe he was rated again.

The voice was a wreck on a burnished track;

the songs a palimpsest of antique blues.


In the end the words will come

if they have to, like music that’s ghosted

by echoes stored in a phonograph’s horn

– remembering now stereogram.

Was that what we called it?


It was more like a sideboard

than a sound machine

with its glossy veneer and gilt trim.

Its clunking drop-down front

revealed a deck and storage,

a radio that warbled and seethed.


Picking up on Dylan,

I worked back to his debut album.

On the sleeve he was just a kid,

dressed like a vaudeville hobo,

yet seemed to dig deeper than most.

When he sang about death

he ripped through hokum.

We had all our lives before us.