I’d rather be Robert Plant

I want to be Robert Plant in 1973,
long hair, bare chest, tight jeans, gripping the mic stand 
like it’s the only thing holding me up.
I want to wake up in a late afternoon hotel room
to a carpet of beautiful groupies, passed out 
from the exhaustion of attempting to satiate my desires. 

But I am a thirty-three-year old woman
and people ask me when I’m going to get a real job.
They enthusiastically suggest I get a H dip,
say I could become an oh-captain-my-captain 
to disenchanted adolescents and somehow reach them 
through the medium of a state-set syllabus.

I would rather be Kurt Cobain in 1993
screaming my angst out to the world,
thrashing perfectly good guitars.
I want to dive from the stage into a sea of affinity,
let hands carry me above heads, a crashing wave
all the way around some dingy venue. 

But I am a thirty-three-year old woman and people ask me 
when I’m going to grow up and settle down.
Marriage, they say, serves an important social function,
best get a mortgage, get married, take someone’s name 
before all the good ones are snatched up. 

I would rather be Dave Gilmour in 1974.
I want to feel that moment when every voice
every note, every beat, every choice 
each member of the band has ever made
fuses in sublime synergy, time ceases
and I feel divinity flowing in my veins
as the music spills through the crowd
sweeping their spirits up in a maelstrom of unity.

But I am a thirty-three-year old woman 
and people ask me when I’m going to have babies. 
They advise me not to leave it too late,
warn me of impending wrinkles, sagging breasts, 
grey hairs and the biological tick-tock. 
They say I should create people to keep me company in old age.

I would rather be Jim Morrison in 1967.
When I die let the world grieve and declare 
what an untimely and tragic waste of talent it was. 
Let it be from mistaking my heroin for cocaine, 
choking on whiskey vomit, attempting to fly off a cliff 
on a desert acid trip, 
Let me die from cheeseburgers and prescriptions, 
Let my death be a mystery in the bathtub
Let it be from the inability of a soul as sensitive as mine
to survive in this world. 

I am a thirty-three-year old woman. 
Still, I’d rather be Jimi Hendrix.  

With thanks to Revival where this poem was first published.

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