matt pond PA

December 26, 2017

This Socks!

(My first peek at a real rock n’ roll band rider was from Modest Mouse. Some vegetable sense, some boozy excess. But the best line was the last line — four dozen black socks, Hanes or otherwise. We plagiarized that poetry for many years. Some nights, at some colleges and some over-blown private concert halls or high-class sportswear events — we got our socks.)

The ancient holidays come back clearly.

I was shorter and quieter back then. Small and nervous, a regular chimpanzee. I waited for my sisters to show me how to react: to make the giants feel better when they couldn’t get it right under the tree, to smile and remain unnoticed. My sisters told me that the easiest way to get by was to get out of the way — advice they always ignored.

My sisters. They are sitting on the circular stone table by the barn. They are laughing in the stables. They are dressing me up like Linda Ronstadt. They are howling to Paul Simon. They are hiding their hickies after defying victorian curfews. My sisters are driving away from the school parking lot, sipping Bud Light in the back seat, never looking back. My sisters smell like fire, perfume and cigarettes. My sisters are wildly confident and awaiting their escape — private school, college, bars, babies and the untethered life of an unforeseen rock n’ roll soul.

What we all eventually find out is that the ensuing adult tethers are so much more than our parents could ever enforce. Our freedom was always there, in an endless summer afternoon, in the winter nights, under a fresh fallen snow, the snowball straight to the face. We were just too dumb and young to see.

The only good thing my first stepfather ever did was to fill the winter woods with quickly frozen water and hang Christmas lights all around. We sang stupidly to the sky and unwove ourselves, layer by layer, out of the cold. We skated over roots and fell and skated until the bruises forced us back indoors. We were free as fuck.

If you ever think of me, if you ever want to make me happy with something from the physical world, if there’s ever any desire to impress, console, elate, commiserate, rouse, inspire, affect — bring me a feast of socks.