Half-skitter, half dance
you were anti-pop on that red July night,
high flying over us groundlings,
a northern life mined into music
a roadwork of youth halfspent
elevating a plaid of careless heartbreak
into a national anthem.
Swaying en masse to your oddity
I wondered what door had you found
to be here and yet all gone.
You threw shards of dare,
perspectives alien to our normcore
provocations unseen in that dark
jabs that should have been jolts.
And after that puncture and revolt
stagehands swept flower and weed,
the unnecessary devotions you ignored,
taking just our wanting and our thirst,
amping strange into aspiration
to frame, to elevate, to recolour
and release us, new patriots.
And those summer mornings
when I breathed your lyrics,
wish-filled with light and asphalt heat
it all seemed possible,
as I started up
as I found the space to find myself,
in that in-between of 1999.