Daily Archives: August 15, 2014

Vintage Concert Ts

Originally posted 3/25/2008.  

I’ve seen my share 
of replica vintage concert T-shirts,
all bought at Target, Kohl’s, and WalMart I’m sure;
maybe some of the rarer designs 
come from Hot Topic.  Each one
seems to have been burnt thin 
from pre-sale washing
in foreign factory laundries.

I bet no one wearing one
really understands
how it worked back
in the day, how
a concert T
wasn’t about style
and wasn’t about fashion.
They were medals earned 
for risking death by tinnitus,
honor blazoned
on 60-40 blends.
We’d compare them
at school next day
and envy each other,
swearing 
we’d never miss another tour,
tried to keep them
intact and uncracked
as long as we could…

then one day
we looked 
in the mirror,
kissed off such expensive devotion,
and proceeded straight on to mortgages
and beer guts you couldn’t hide
under any size shirt.

I heard T. Rex on the radio tonight and
can remember having Bolan’s
big platforms and rainbow swirl
on black across my chest,
big ass chunky music
gonging in my head
for two days and the shirt
telling everyone I’d gone to see
The Man.

I saw that same shirt earlier tonight on a kid
as skinny as I used to be except
his shirt was grey as a post
and scraped evenly clean
in all the right places.
I don’t know what he saw in it,
don’t understand
how you can buy 
such tastefully damaged goods
and call that fair trade
without putting 
your own time
into the wear.