[It tears out like fire through a field]

For Tony Durazzo, patron saint of Frankies



It tears out like fire through a field.

His shiny-eyed grin a strain

from the push and pull within

him to hunch and pump and kick


out the beat as he sings and growls

and belts, he, the maker and breaker

of time, patron saint of drums, Levon

Helm. Behind Robbie and Rick and Richard


and Garth, his voice stretches out

warm and ragged as an old flag caught

in the wind. He's probably running on

whiskey, weed, and LSD, ambrosia


of the sixties titans, although he'd deny

he's divine, deny he could even sing

and play the drums at the same time.

Delta man of the land, American heart


of The Band, sonic maestro, lover

of Sandy, of sushi, voice rich and raw

as the Arkansas soil he came from.

Stage lights wash his profile in yellow,


the hair on his head flaming, the fuzz

of his face blazing low. Even

his cheekbones, nose, jaw, chin

percuss out of his face with the same


timely grace of the drumbeat.

His entire being, drenched with sweat,

spry and featherlight, resonating—

amber-coated and gravel-throated.


He slinks and pops and rips up the air,

digs holes and fills them just as fast,

drops a field of sound tilled fresh

for the rest of the boys to sow.