Category Archives: Roadie Poet

Roadie Poet: Drab


If you’ve never met Roadie Poet, definitely take a stroll through his archives. It won’t take you long to see why he’s got a cult following all his own.

There’s something drab about
Places like this.
They’re all the same.

This is what it looks like
when you’re
a roadie.

The color’s on the outside,
where the paying people sit.

Not here,
where the employees go.

Don’t matter if they’re athletes
or roadies.

In the end,
we’re the paid help.
Nothing more.

Not even
the reason
for places like this.

As drab,
and boring
as they are
back here.


But later,
Oh, later,
this entire building
and every person in it
will pulsate
with the music.

Every rafter,
every tendril of light
that escapes the drapes
we’ll hang
will throb.


This is what it will mean
to rock the house.

And it won’t matter
that when you look away
from the stage,
all you’ll see
will be
compared to the
we’re creating.

For you,
the paying people.
Who never get to see
how drab
our existence

This was a Three Word Wednesday post. Stop in and see what others have come up with.


Roadie Poet: Peach Guts


No clue where this came from. Or why. Or even how. The Three Word Wednesday words this week were pretty dark — control, flesh, razor — but this… isn’t.

You have to have

to slip the blade between the skin and the

Like this.

Don’t breathe.


Or talk.

Don’t do that either.



Wash the
peach guts
off the

before you use it

to open

that box

of t-shirts.


Roadie Poet: New Year’s Eve


New Year’s Eve.

I’m off tour.
More’s still out.
So’s Hambone.

Mom’s with Antonio.
They’re going strong.

That means
It’s just me.

For New Year’s Eve.

Used to be,
I thought
only losers
were alone
New Year’s Eve.

I’m no loser.
If anything,
I’m a nomad.
A nomad
With friends
On tour.
And a mom
a love life.

I’ve heard it said
what you do on
New Year’s Eve
What you’ll do

Hope that doesn’t mean
I’ll be





Roadie Poet: Ghost


Last night of the tour.
I walk across the stage.
Last time.
Not that I’m nostalgic.
Or glad to be done.

It’s the footprint.
Just one.
Back near the speaker stack.

One footprint.
Like a ghost.

Hambone says it’s a
size 18.
I’m an 11.
I’ll take his word
for it.

Band’s guitar tech,
left it.
So they say.

No one’s sure why.
Or how.

It’s creepy.
he died one night.

Bus 18.
Same as his shoe size.
Woke up when they got to town,
found him there.
In the john.
On the floor.
Spilling into the hallway.

That night,
the footprint appeared
on the stage
over near where he’d stand,
back by the speaker stack.

Three guys from Bus 18
quit the tour.
Rumor has it
they went to rehab.

Tonight’s the last night
of the tour.
Last time to see
the footprint.

Just one.
Like a ghost.

Not that I’m nostalgic.
Or glad to be done.
But I’ll be glad
when I don’t have to see
that footprint.

Ever again.


Roadie Poet: Moist


“Moist,” Hambone proclaims.
“Moist and meaty.”

He digs back into
his steak.
Poor thing.
Doesn’t deserve the treatment
Ham’s giving it.

I don’t know who said
steak deserves anything.
‘Cept getting eat.

You don’t get
on a roadie’s contract.

That means
we’re in a restaurant.
Me and Hambone.

I almost forgot
my restaurant manners.
had any.

“Moist and meaty!”
he yelps.

I try not to slide
under the table
to hide.

There might be
under there.

One that wasn’t
moist and meaty.

Believe it or not, this is a Three Word Wednesday post!


Roadie Poet: Handy


November and December both turned into horrible months for me. For those of you looking to join in the Musical Hanukkah Celebration, fear not. There’s more to come. In fact, here’s some Roadie Poet.

About a month ago,
call came in.

We’d be in Denver anyway.
That makes us handy,
I guess.

They also want the best.
Seems Walter Cichewski is gonna do a show
A tie-in
With this Musical Holiday Thing.
ShapeShifter’s baby.

You’ve heard of it.

Me, Hambone, More.
We’re only some of the crew they want.

We’re handy.
And we’re damn good at what we do.

This ain’t a paid gig.
It won’t tie us up all day.
Just for the show.
Plenty of time for us to rest up.

We’d be off anyway.
We’re handy.

Remember, Musical Hanukkah left this blog and entered the real world this year. Buy my books between now and December 31, or use this link and make a direct donation to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation in the West of Mars name. You’ll get a prize or two for the direct donation. Just remember who gets the real prizes: kids who otherwise wouldn’t get to make music. Help tomorrow’s musical stars, will ya?


Roadie Poet: The Joke


More takes my hands
All gentle.

I get ready.
Brace myself.
Know what’s coming.
I think.

“RP,” she says,
“I love us.
Love us being together.”


“That joke?
The one you and Hambone?”

Yeah, I know the joke.
Was a good one.
Had the whole crew howling.

I’m guessing,

“RP,” she says,
“It was vulgar.
Beneath you.
All that praise you got?
A waste of breath.”


I pull my hands away.
Try to jam them in
my back pockets.

There’s stuff in them.
A sharpie.
Random plastic wrappers.
A straw.
More garbage.
A candy bar that’s melted.
It’s squishy against

I know she’s right.
Knew it at the time.
But that didn’t stop me
from doing it.

Worst of all,
it may not stop me
next time.

Yep, some Three Word Wednesday, some Weekend Writer’s Retreat, and it’s a stretch, but maybe some reunion going on here, too (finger and candy bar, RP and More — in a sense), thanks to the Writer’s Island. You decide. And check out some other writers, too, if you’ve got the time.


Roadie Poet: Not a Poet


Welcome to you who are stopping in to celebrate National Poetry Month with Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit. Since many of you are first-timers here at The Meet and Greet, let me tell you a bit about what’s going on.

I’m Susan Helene Gottfried, author of a couple of books that you might like, and — more importantly today — the creator of a fictional poet who hangs out on these blog pages. We call him RP, or Roadie Poet — yes, he’s a member of a rock band’s road crew (thus, the roadie part of his name) who happens to report his adventures in free verse. Here’s his latest adventure.

Pettr the sound guy
walked up to me.
Asked how I was

I stared at him.
Birthday’s not yet.
Tour’s not ending.
Nothing to celebrate
with me
and More.
We’re still feeling each other out
Just dating.

“National poetry month,”
Pettr said.
“Seeing as you write poetry
and all.”

I told him
I don’t

I tell stories.

He nodded.
Like he didn’t believe me.
Clapped me on the shoulder
And walked away.

I wanted to go after him
Show him what I write.
It’s not poetry.
Nothing rhymes.
There’s no rhythm.


It’s not poetry.

It’s not.


Roadie Poet: Pretzels


It took some planning
but I got a Valentine’s Day present
For More.

A new Sharpie.
A beaded lanyard she’ll dig.
And a

I taped the Sharpie
onto the lanyard for her.
Gave it to her that way.

She looked it over.
Said it was cool.

Looked sorta sad.

I handed over the bag

She squealed and hugged
the pretzels.

she hugged me.


Okay, I thought.
I’d hoped for better.
but it seems

I’ve lost my girl
to a bag


Roadie Poet: New Leaf


Before we get to the Roadie Poet, let me point you to one Alex Skolnick. He’s the guitar player for Testament, a band near-and-dear to my heart (among other gigs he does/did). He’s waxing poetic about roadies, himself.

Now, on to the Poet , himself:

Been hearing the production manager talk.
“New leaf coming,” he keeps saying.
He’s nervous.
Pressure must be on.

We’re all clueless.
Like it that way.
Let Stew worry about his shit.
We’ll deal with ours.

We’re grunts,
nothing more.
Like it that way.

Can’t help but notice
the band
avoids one spot on the stage.

We now gaff it out
so they don’t forget
and walk across.

We don’t know why.
Don’t care, either.
We got our jobs.
It’s all we want.
Like it this way.

Until the day
Stew comes around.
“New leaf is here!”

And we’re all sucked in
as we help
part of
the stage.

We do
Like it this way.

Ahh, another Sunday Scribblings. Sometimes, I fear I can’t write a thing without it anymore.


Roadie Poet: Bump in the Night


Been on the road about three hours now.
Most of us asleep
when it happens.

Thunk-a Thunk-a

Bus sways.
Doesn’t tip.

You can feel people are up
but no one knows what to do
So we stay in our bunks
and wait.

Word comes down:
we’ve got a flat.

Busdriver’s pissed.
He takes care of this thing
like it’s his baby.

Shit happens,
we tell him.
Then duck;
he’s a bit grumpy.

Anyone who didn’t get up yet
Is woken by the still of the bus.

Are we there?
they ask,
rubbing sleep from their


Side of the road.
It’s raining.
We wait for help.

It comes.
We’re on our way again.

We’ll be late to load-in.
But at least they’ll all know why.

Something went
In the night.


Roadie Poet #16: Tattoos


Day off yesterday.
Hambone went and got a tattoo.

Flaming road case.
Hard to describe.
It fits;
no one loads or unloads a truck like Ham.

Made me look around.
Most of the crew’s got tats.
Lots of tribals.
Cuffs circling ankles
upper arms.

Nothing meaningful.
At least,
not the way Ham’s is.

I don’t need a tat.
Not a physical one.
This life,
the road,
the shows,
the travel,
the food,
the people,
That’s my tattoo.
It’s inside me.

along with

my heart.


Roadie Poet: Cookies


Party on the bus
After the show.

Too many beers
And cookies.

The kind with the
Of icing
On top.

Beer and cookies
Don’t mix.

Or beer and icing.
Who knows.
Doesn’t really matter
Except that
Whoever brought those cookies
To be


Roadie Poet: New Guy


New guy came on last night.
Must be someone’s boy toy
Or something.

Ironed t-shirts.
Not a pair of work gloves in sight.
Desperate to be one of the gang.

And like all newbies,
Doesn’t get the language,
The code
The speak.

The road’s its own beast
You gotta learn it from the ground up
This kid,
He’s got a long way to go
Just to get started.

Everyone laughs,

Don’t know why I do it,
There ain’t glory in it for me,
Just a lot of ribbing for being a softie.

I take the new kid under my wing.
Hand over a spare pair of gloves;
I’ve got three more.

Start with a shadow.
Hand him a broom.
Use the right language.

He may not make it
But it’s not him people are watching.

It’s me.

Ahh, it’s nice when both the Sunday Scribblings and the Monday Poetry Train overlap. I’d like to do some commentary about this over at my Red Room page, but don’t know if I’ll get the time. We shall see… and of course, if I make the time, you’ll hear about it.

… and that was fast! Go read it


Roadie Poet: Important Announcement


Usually, when I write Roadie Poet, I try to keep his adventures as true-to-life as possible, given my experiences (or that of my sources). But every now and then, an idea like this one strikes and you’ve got to run with it.

This was written for this week’s Sunday Scribblings prompt, Listen up because this is important!

They needed someone to do it.
Four cars in the parking lot.
Eight headlights.
Breaking up the dark.

Make an announcement, they said.
Make people listen up.
It’s important.

Not to a guy who got here on a bus.
A bus he didn’t drive.
A bus he don’t care about.

Hambone volunteered me.
So did More.
Four sound guys.
The entire pyro team.

Lucky me.

They handed me the mic.
Let me stand off stage
In the shadows.
Gave me the sign.

And my throat


Roadie Poet: Hiatus


Been home longer than a month.
Promised job never came through.

Happens sometimes.

Antonio’s moved in, too.
I’ve never known Mom to be so
She sings in the kitchen while she makes dinner.
We eat leftovers for weeks.

I pick up some local stage work.
The crew there,
They never been on the road.
Most of ’em won’t get there.

But they dream anyway.

Dad wants me to move my stuff
Come stay with him.
But I’m happy here.
Getting fat.
Loving Mom like this.

When I leave,
It’ll be for a tour.
But right now, it’s fun to be home.


Roadie Poet: Stranger


Got home just now.
The start of a month off the road.
I need sleep
Clean clothes
Good food.

In that order.

My key fits in the lock.
Everything inside looks the same:
Shelf for mail
The dent in the bannister from when I kicked it with a steel-toed boot.

Don’t ask.

In the living room
In front of the TV
In the recliner I bought Mom with my first tour’s pay

Isn’t Mom.
It’s some guy.
In blue plaid flannel pants.
Black socks.
Brown slippers with no backs.
Not a lot of hair.

I look into the kitchen.
There’s Mom’s cookbooks
Mom’s pots
Mom’s teapot.
No Mom.

Just this guy.

“Hey,” he says to me.
“You must be RP.”

“Who’re you?” I say to him.
“Does Mom know you’re here?”

He laughs.
Stands up.
Shoves his hand at me.

I stare at it.

Mom shows up then.
Dressed in a flimsy robe.
Surprised to see me.
Her second kid.

Like I’m forgettable.

She gives me food.
Takes my laundry.
Sends me to bed.

In that order.
I don’t complain.
I needed all three.
Especially sleep.

I’m awake.
Never thought I’d need earplugs at home.

I can find
A tour
That’ll keep me busy
For a month.

I don’t really need
Or clothes.
In any order.

Aww, man! Poor RP; his mom’s got a boyfriend! There’s more to this saga, so stay tuned. In the meantime, why not check out other friends who’ve done some Sunday Scribblings? (more…)


Roadie Poet: Ask


There’s a code out here
On the road.

You do your job.
You hang out.
Keep it light as long as you can.

You got here ’cause you’re good.
You know your shit.
No need to ask for instructions.

Like a robot, you do what you gotta do.
Don’t think about how mechanical it gets by tour’s end.
Just do.
Think about what you’re doing.
Pay attention;
One fuck-up can hurt the stars.

They’re worth millions.
You don’t hurt them.
No matter how much you want to
’cause they treat you like you’re

And whatever you do,
You never
Stop and ask them


This week’s Sunday Scribblings prompt is ask. Once again, I had too many ideas to choose from, so don’t be surprised if more fiction based around this theme surfaces in the future.

If you’re visiting from Scribblings, please leave a comment so I make sure to visit you in return. Thanks for coming by!

If you’re new to the Roadie Poet, click on the link in his name right there, and it’ll take you to a biography page, and links to his earlier poems.


Roadie Poet: Returns


Don’t realize it until we get inside.
Been here before.

Recognize the loading dock,
The room the crew showers in,
The way things look from the stage.
Out into darkness —
For now.

It’ll get lit up later.

Hambone remembers this place, too.
We talk at dinner.
Bands we’ve been here with
Tours we’ve done
Crew we went with.

More sits and listens.
Tells me later
She can’t wait until she’s got these lists to make
When she’s been around more.

I gotta tell her
Coming back to a familiar place
It feels good
But not as good
As home.

I’m not sure about this ending. Might be too cliched, so let me know what you think.

If you’re new to Roadie Poet, welcome! If you’ve missed him, or want to revisit old poetry from our favorite crew member, click here. That’ll take you to his profile page. All his poems are listed at the bottom of the page. Happy catching up!


Roadie Poet: Pyro


New tour.
Big one.

Shows this big,
They’re spectacles,
Not simple shows.

Vid screens,
Extra sound,

Band’s gotta rehearse extra
So they don’t step in a flashpot.
Burned to a crisp
By their own show.

Extra rehearsal for them means
Hotel rooms for us.
A little bit easier
Before the grind begins.
Time to bum around.
Have some fun.

But watch
For those flashpots.
So we don’t step in ’em.
And get

next page »