by Stephen Anderson

At the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee


Something tells me that the little man

in striped short sleeves and a Sears’ tie

could really cut loose with a wild, wailing

boogie-woogie on that awesome Wurlitzer organ

on stage down at the Oriental Theater,

instead of the take-me-out-to-the-ballgame/true-blue

schmaltz he is probably told to play before the previews

come on.  Not that there’s anything patently wrong

with his standard repertoire, but that magnificent organ

has got to be capable of so much more, as I’m sure the man is.


Watching him play, I can imagine him suddenly exploding

into a Ray Charles or, hell, even a Jerry Lee Lewis rocking rendition

in which he shakes the sleepy, popcorn-eating, soda swilling place

up a bit, maybe even bringing those exotic moldings and fixtures to life

before the main feature sparkles from the screen.


And so, every time I’m sitting there waiting for the big screen fare,

I’ll imagine how nice it would be if he could, just once,

snap out of the corral he’s in, out of all that has been constrained inside,

and make hulk-like all that stuff barely breathing there.


(previously published in Fox Cry Review)