Kate Bush Appears on Night Flight, 1981

Midnight in the forbidden living room,
past my parents’ bedroom, closing doors quietly
behind me, unknowingly opening a path 
from which I will never veer, even later
when I become older, succumb to any zeitgeist.

I turn on the TV and she somersaults
across the screen, startling the rolling vertical hold
into stillness, her siren voice makes me fumble
in the dark for volume control, I put my hand
against the screen, feel the static in my fingertips,
a transference of energy in 1981 that delineates
past and present, a woman who calls herself Cathy,
wants to come in through the window.

But she wasn’t coming through, I was going in,
my link to her a series of hot boxes where she
would appear without warning over decades
like the Virgin, her songs a catechism, her name
a prayer I chanted at the backs of retreating lovers,
divorcing parents and death, and even in her absence,
the music never faltered like I did,
songs willing pills back into bottles.

Twenty-seven years ago I put on my armor,
never had a ring put on my finger, blew kisses
across the ocean, for inspiration and strength,
for God to keep her even when he wasn’t keeping me,
and even now, when I am driving or dancing,
walking in Los Angeles or London, the song remains
the same, her name an utterance: Kate, Kate, Kate.

This poem appears in the HomeGround Anthology, 1982-2012 and Assaracus literary magazine. Republished here to mark the occasion of Kate Bush announcing her first live concerts in 35 years. And, yes, I got a ticket. 


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