Unsent letter to an old friend

How are you, my old friend?
do you feel anxious,
or are you turning inside your grave?
well, I guess you would know by now
what has become of your pretty face.
once you were the best known stranger
for a hippy generation
and now you’re just a victim of the commercial sensation—
a nice feature for posters and low-cost T-shirts
and it hurts.
that king, who sang in the psychedelic rapture
during a birth of the new age,
has become a caricature of himself…
but can you see all that, Jimmy?
the world has changed from what it was
so now I am interested what would you say
if you were still alive today?
what would you say about this poem?
would you spit it back in my face,  or perhaps
you’d give me a copy of
An American Prayer, with a dedication—
that’s how you write, man!
you were an arrogant, egocentric junkie, an idol
of my youth
and I loved you Jimmy,
and we still love you in spite of everything
because we are only ordinary people
and you are all such geniuses
and those like you are always forgiven.
through my best years you have ruled
but today jazz has taken over — I’m sorry but
what can you do, aging is that.
still, you will always be a legend
and every now and then
with my record player
I will raise you
from the dead.

©Tom Del Braco

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