**This is the third poem I wrote with the title “Why Joe Strummer still matters.”
***I can’t find the draft, but we were standing in line at Seattle’s Showbox for the Mescaleros that night. A taxi pulls up, Joe Strummer gets out carrying a guitar case and enters the club through the front door (this was before they added the metal detector gate). No rock star trappings, just a guy going to work. Shouts of “Hey, Joe!” from those of us in line and a nod from him.
****The other was written the day he died in 2002 (I was walking downtown and heard a sax player in the bus tunnel entry) and was included untitled in Punk Poems:
Sax echoes / Through the underground– / There was a line / Drawn– / We always knew / What side to take– / On the street / The player blows / Each / Note–
“Spleen” is a riff on a Baudelaire line from “Good Dogs” in his Le Spleen de Paris.
I sing in praise of destitute dogs, under-dogs, whether those who wander all alone through the tortuous ravines and gullies of the vast metropolis, or those who have said to some old outcast, with a wink of their witty, spiritual eyes, ‘Take me along with you, then perhaps we can make some sort of happiness out of our two poverties!’