If pressed I’ll vow I could forsee
the afternoon in Montgomery
when my lady friend and I would meet
The Troubadour on a random street.
The Song and Dance Man, old, not frail
wearing a hoodie like a gossamer veil
burst out the door of the Hank museum
I couldn’t believe it. I was inside his dream.
He looked at me strangely and moved past me quick
probably thinking I was some lunatic
hoping to score an autograph or
waste his time like a typical bore.
As I watched him walk by, I fought back my fear
knowing it’d taken ‘til my 36th year
to run into the man who’d narrated my life
led me to God, helped me find my wife.
In my mind I thought of several things
he and I could discuss – perhaps Dante’s rings
or Virgil’s corn, maybe Kerouac’s pie.
Instead all I managed was a pitiful sigh.
He picked up his pace on the Alabama pavement
probably still just thinkin’ ’bout the government.
I interrupted him and said, “Excuse me … Mr. Bob?”
Then he stopped and turned. I was like, “Oh my God…
“What do I do, Lord? What do I say?
He’s wondering why I’m staring this way
Say something, dumbass. Quote him some lyrics.
No! Don’t be like Stallyns. Be like The Spirit.”
So I took a deep breath and raised my right hand
trying my best not to be just some fan
bothering him like the millions of fools
who believed that Zimmy should play by their rules.
“May I give you this painting?” I asked as I showed
him a five dollar horror bought at Hank’s boyhood home
three hours before on our trip north from Florida
“You can have it,” I said. “It reminds me of Self Portrait.”
Bob stared at the painting and he almost grinned.
I’m telling you folks, you should see this thing.
It looks like it was painted by a blind man
with arthritic fingers. Bob waved his old hand.
“I’m gonna pass on that one,” he said.
Inside I felt like a failure, so dead
but as Bob turned and walked from my life forever.
Mr. Dylan left me with a story I’ll treasure.
So thank you once more, Mr. Bob. You’re the man.
I’m a small, simple nothing – just one of your fans.
Still, you gave me a valuable moment of time
and now, thanks to you, I’ve written this rhyme.