"Ah, but in such an ugly time, the true
        protest is beauty"
                                      —Phil Ochs


Not Train, your fevered brain's
manic incarnation, alter-

ego with his claw hammer
shoved in your belt, drunk all day

on orange juice and rum,
busting up chairs and mirrors

in the bars where Phil had been
so welcome. Not John Wayne, not Elvis,

not Audie Murphy, your unlikely
boyhood heroes. Not even

James Dean—your Jim Dean of Indiana
whose nose you asked your surgeon

for, whose hair you modeled. And oh,
not that suffering ghost, who

played for days that single song
on your sister's Far Rockaway piano,

and then hanged himself
from a hook on her bathroom door.

It's the you critics complained
was never cool I want to remember—

1969, and your almost unbearable
sweetness rising, a kind of prayer,

from my bedroom turntable,
singing louder than the guns.