30 April 202126 May 2021 Main Posts Poetry | The rock stars are dying Dominic Symes Paul Simon says the Mississippi delta is shining like a National guitar which is an apt simile but if you want my reflections on rock and roll the rock stars are dying soloing their way up the fretboard toward the afterlife there’s stars on 45 & ash in Paisley Park admittedly I’ve not ziggied any stardust in a while but if Keith who once snorted his own father (!) says he is clean, man then what the hell so am I Mick says this a poem I’d like to read for Brian we decay / like corpses in a charnel older than bong water or that crusty Led Zeppelin poster in the shed above the drum kit covered in dust you only had to be able to keep a beat & 30 pints of lager in your gullet to be a drummer in the 70s racing to an early death like hate-reading On The Road because we owe it to America to stick our fingers down its chauvinistic guts and marvel at the vomit of words rock remains as age appropriate as dating a thirteen year old groupie (Jimmy Page) – in that sense rock and roll royalty is more Prince Andrew than Prince should this serve as a symbol? a sign o the times? should we not be toppling statues out the front of concert venues too? you want it darker? asks an album cover masquerading as an epitaph before punk before emo there was The Rolling Stones shouting ‘paint it black!’ ~ from a time when perhaps they meant their faces ~ before the Stones there was the blues black music and before that only black musicians tuning up waiting to invent music you can’t ignore the erasure the damage or the war but at the very least I guess you can change the name like Lady Antebellum following a lawsuit I am following the river Down the highway Through the cradle of the civil war I’m going to Graceland if male musicians treated women half as well as they treated their guitars rock wouldn’t be so synonymous with misogyny (this poem, not much of a requiem mass I’ll admit but what do you expect for a genre typified by a bunch of teenagers dutching out a rec room?) rock and roll I gave you all the best years of my life don’t fear the reaper death comes quietly you’ll hardly hear it over the tinnitus rock music didn’t teach us anything really Q: what’s the difference between a zombie and a deadhead? A: the money for a concert ticket popular opinion suggests rock and roll died years ago but the music lives on in dorm rooms reclining on a beanbag coughing, holding a spliff up like a torch above an unwashed head as pentatonic riff follows pentatonic riff I will always admire the way Leonard Cohen took a knee to bow before the talent of one of the musicians he employed as they played a solo all class whereas Ryan Adams fed on the souls and careers of younger female artists both phyrric and vampiric prickish & that’s how the whole thing ended sleeping upside down like that roadie in Wayne’s World long live rock and roll or maybe let it live and let die rock and roll is dead performing the post mortem post Malone Dominic Symes Dominic Symes is a poet writing on Kaurna Country in Adelaide, South Australia. His poetry has featured in Australian Poetry Journal, Australian Book Review, Transnational Literature and Award Winning Australian Writing. He curates ‘NO WAVE’, a monthly poetry reading series at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton. He was selected for Cordite/Australian Poetry's ‘Tell me like you mean it’ anthology and appeared at the Emerging Writers Festival in 2020. More by Dominic Symes Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?