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To Charlie

(In 4/4)

a sharp snare cracks
A simple rock fill strides down
On the toms boom, daboom—boom.
Right foot plows the kick—exactly.
There’s wild prancing singing up front
But built on this groove.

Do you ever wonder,
How long in the pocket
Can one stay?
It’s a mystery,
Only so much in the meter,
Until the metronome runs out
The tune ends,
And its pendulum swing stops.

Of its beating heart inside
Pounding in a garage band bleating
Where I did meet him beneath,
Our heart song rocked.
The Time Keeper, dapper, grinning,
To almost a grimace like Cozy, or Max
Stopped counting time
with his perfect straight fours.
I heard him leave, he stepped down,
With his set completed
In London somewheres.

The fading, dirge drum beating
syncopated eighths from a
New Orleans funeral band fades
With the Time Keeper marching
Into joyful memory’s distance.


Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones, died in London on August 24, 2021.

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