- John Wayne, Buddy Holly, & The Lindsey Theater
Considering that John Wayne's autopsy revealed forty poundsof impacted feces, I'd say he's more full of shit than anyone I know.Something about burning daylight. Or learning to walk througha saloon's swinging doors. That long, hip-cocked lean.But one phrase catches the ear of a young musician. That'll be the day.
The musician, just a kid really, turns it. That' ll be the day when I die,he sings. & now the Lindsey Theater, where he first heard the phrase,isn't there anymore. But his glasses, fat plastic salvaged from the wreck,they're propped in a museum downtown. In a city still clingingto the brief fame of its tragedy. How he just wanted to get out.How no one who grows up watching their father lay grout & tilewishes that life for themselves. & as it so often does, musicprovided the escape—a rolling electric-guitar lick of a life.
I'm seven & my dad's driving past this run-down building,telling me how Buddy Holly once saw The Searchers there& went & wrote a famous song. & because memory is always an actof creation, I believe I can still see the building. Its empty marquee.Even though it's not there anymore. Even though it was there long after.
But every death is humiliating. What if the Duke had sent a bulletspiraling into the soggy gray-matter of his brain? Would that be betterthan letting digested meat rot in his insides? & Buddy Holly, would we love himas much if he'd stabbed himself in the heart? Would we love more?For a kid, dead at 22, who sang of love & the day he'd die,it's not about just getting out. It's about staying out.It's about being in between hearts. About wanting & needing.& always confusing the two. [End Page 12]
Taylor Collier is currently in the MFA program at Syracuse University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review, Harpur Palate, South Dakota Review, Willow Springs, and others.