Being a Star

When I was a freshman in high school and my brother Andy was younger, we formed our own band with me on piano and Andy on drums. Before Andy got his drum set, we improvised. Our front porch had steps that led up to it so we pretended it was a stage. Andy found an old piece of wood for me to use as a microphone, an empty paint can for him to use as a drum, and another wood chip to use as a drum stick. I stood on the edge of the porch before an imaginary roaring crowd and sang my heart out, accompanied by Andy on his pretend drum. 

When I wrote the following poem about this memory, I included lyrics to the songs I sang. However, I would have had to get permission from Olivia Newton-John, Debbie Boon, and Paul Simon in order to publish the poem with the lyrics included. For a while, I performed the poem at readings, singing the songs as I went along. When I decided to submit it for publication, I removed the lyrics and paraphrased the songs instead.

As a special treat for my readers, I’ll provide two versions: the print version without the lyrics and below that, a link to a recording of me reading the poem with lyrics included. This poem appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders. When I was young, I dreamed of being a singer, but that dream was never accomplished; yet, I’m happy.

 

WHEN I WAS A STAR 

 

I stood on the front porch,

a piece of wood to my lips, sang

while my brother went rat-a-tat tat

on an empty paint can. 

 

I was Olivia Newton-John,

begging some drunk in a bar

not to play that painful song on the jukebox.

The air rang with applause. 

 

As Debbie Boon, I told the love of my life

how he lit up my life.

There was more applause. 

 

I stepped into Paul Simon’s shoes,

longing to be a sparrow, not a snail.

The crowd was on its feet. 

I bowed, took my leave.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/when%20i%20was%20a%20star.mp3

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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7 thoughts on “Being a Star

  1. Abbie, I was right there with you, in the audience. I just loved this! YOU ARE a SINGER, and so much more. No wonder you are happy!

    Lynda

  2. I hope you had enough stage hands to get all the trash picked up after the captivated crowd left the front yard arena.

    B17 ain’t got nothin on ya kiddo.

    Wicked good post.

    dp

    Deon Lyons

    Author of Sully Street

    A Fiction Novel

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C4ZHD0O

    email dplion@roadrunner.com

    Personal Blog http://www.dplyons.wordpress.com

    “The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”

    Unknown Author

    _____

  3. Oh Abbie! I thoroughly loved this; brings back many memories. Your story gave me the giggles! We were never clever enough to use the porch as our stage! Then again, I was backwardly shy and my sister never brushed her hair.

    • Hi Mary, it might not have occurred to you to use your front porch as a stage if it didn’t look like one. Ours had a brick walkway and steps leading up to it, and a small lawn in front of it just right for a small audience. My brother and I weren’t the only ones to use the porch as a stage. When my mother produced a Winnie the Pooh puppet show for Adhoc, a disabled advocacy organization, the puppet stage was set up on the front porch, and we had rehearsals there. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Great post Abbie! Brings back memories. It wasn’t too long after that that I got a real drum set and we continued our adventure with better equipment. I remember doing drum sound effects for Mom’s puppet show on the front porch too.

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