In memory of Butch Shattuck
Fuzzy old Polaroid: you
sitting cross-legged on a round quilted rug
holding your cherry-red Gibson SG.
Your jet black hair, parted in the middle,
a wispy plume resting on each shoulder.
That familiar purple and white striped shirt.
You were the youngest and the first
in the village to have your own flat;
a little studio above your mum’s house
where you taught your soul the blues
from a Shuggie Otis record.
The next time I saw you,
you were propped up with pillows
a blood-stained white halo
wrapped round your shaven head.
The riffs returned slowly
but polished as a pair of your shoes and
the barflies gave you a hero’s welcome.
A genuine Lazarus back from the grave.
For nearly a year they worshipped you.
You charmed the ladies. You drank for free.
Then you met Mephistopheles.
You begged for drinks and old friends shook their heads.
The townies hung your portrait in their Hall of Shame.
The last time I saw you, you were chatting with cobblestones
and pointing at passing cars.