when he burns

this guy has been around for a hundred years
singing songs and bringing in the crowds
but he’s going to give it away after today
no more tours

and I’m watching to try to get a handle on him
what is it that he does that pleases the mob
that pleases me too
if it comes to it

there’s no doubt he’s a ham
in between each song there’s an acre of patter
he’s playing it for laughs
at himself
at the audience
at the band members
no one’s safe and the jokes are lame
but everybody’s laughing
he switches on The Voice
and the crowd fills in the chorus

it doesn’t tell me much
I’ve heard the songs before
I know they’re good
but I’m looking for the extra thing
the stand-apart factor

third song in
a big big slow ballad
he’s got a man and a woman as backing
running the harmonies with him

and it’s nice
smooth beautiful

I’m watching the woman
and she’s hitting the notes
every time she stops
down comes the microphone
and she watches him
I can see it
in a close-up that catches her eyes
during one of her pauses
she really thinks this guy is it
she’s all admiration
not just singing the songs

she’s a believer

cut away to the manager
in half-shadow on the sidelines
he’s concentrating on every note
singing the songs that he’s already heard
a thousand times at least
he’s right into every phrase

pan to the audience
a girl
still young
has a stud in her lower lip
and she’s got her eyes closed
mouthing the words
feeling him burn
especially for her this time

the way it feels he lets me burn with him
for my own reasons
when I hear him do the song

he’s a part of us
every time he burns

© Frank Prem 2003, 2016

This piece appeared in the John Farnham fan magazine, back in the day.
Daily Prompt: Burn


2 thoughts on “when he burns

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