Mark James Andrews

So I Lit a Fire

I parked & launched out of my Corvair
just about 8 Miles High at my girlfriend’s house
she of the ginger hair & grey eyes.
I called her Bridge.

Bridge was having a party for her little sister
& a big gaggle of teeny bop girls
some picked for the May crowning ceremony
at Holy Name of Jesus church

a Roman Catholic throwback pagan ceremony
a Celtic flower gathering & May Pole disguise.
The crowner girls were dangerously sexed up.

Bridge’s sister would soon climb a dais
at the side altar & crown the Madonna with flowers
above vigil candles in red glass cups flickering.

There was a group of long-hair boys standing
on the curb out front smoking cigarettes.
One of them flipped his butt
& stepped forward toward me.

“Hey man, you got any chemicals?”
“What do I look like a scientist?
Get the fuck out of here.”

I could hear the organ of 96 Tears
from the backyard & moved through the front gate
on the side of the house & walked through
the dark skinny tunnel between houses.

There were no driveways on Bridge’s block.
& the lots were small.
I came out of the tunnel into
a department store Christmas display.

There were strings of color Christmas lights
weaved on the clotheslines
& plastic Nativity figures
in the middle of the yard

with the Virgin Mary front & center
on a thin wooden slat bushel basket
with a crown of blue plastic posies.
mounted on her head.

There was a break in the music.
Then a scratchy sounding 45 RPM
of My Girl dropped on the turntable.

Bridge was running back and forth
getting the kids to slow dance
to the Temptations.

Then she saw me and walked over.
She had on my favorite dress
“the get naked dress.”

“These kids are so cute.
Look at them.”

“Yeah. But the drug addicts
are hanging tough out front.”

“Well, I guess you belong
out front with them.”

& so I lit a fire for a weenie roast
in a rusty tripod barbecue
& thought isn’t it good?


Mark James Andrews continues to live and write in Metro Detroit.  His latest collection of poems is Motor City Is Burning And Other Rock & Roll Poems (Gimmick Press). He has recently had work in RESPECT: An Anthology of Poems on Detroit Music (Michigan State University Press).