‘CALIFORNIA LOVE’ PLAYED SO LOUDLY I HAD TO YELL TO GET A BEER IN MY OWN HOUSE

The house party band I played in took a break 

and I left with a beer in my jacket pocket to

get cigarettes.

On my way home though,

the bass coming out of my parents’ house

was so loud I could hear it down the street.

My band played Black Flag covers, but man!

That first fifteen seconds of ‘California Love’

was a siren song, a neon sign that said

“Come this way!”

I didn’t know where the hell Long Beach was,

but when Dre and Pac said

“shake, shake it, baby”

I felt that!

The bass throbbed like my heart, like

knowing the cops would probably

show up before too long!

And that moment hit me like a flash of lightning,

like waves crashing, 

like this was the feeling I’d be chasing

for years after.

I was only eighteen but I stood smoking 

under the orange sodium glow 

of the streetlight across from my house,

knowing that if I didn’t walk into 

my own house, I’d regret  it.

The windows were sweating like 

everyone there and when I walked in,

opening a new beer felt like 

possibilities laying themselves 

before me.



AJ Buckle is a poet and teacher living in and writing from his apartment in Ottawa, Canada. He holds an Honours BA in Literature and enjoys listening to records and tending to his houseplants when not having an existential crisis.  You can read his shitty tweets at @buckle_aj

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