HomeSouthern VoiceThe After Party

The After Party

by Doug Hoekstra 

At the Orpheum in Memphis,
Waiting for the crew to guide us
Backstage to the after party
I met legendary songwriter
David Porter, and his wife

When soul was soul, there was
McLemore Avenue. Hayes and Porter
Hold On I’m Coming
I Thank You. And later …
I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over

David was older by that time,
Like all of us, but still hip
With his black leather jacket and
Purple beret, tilted ever so slightly
Still working the angles

When he slipped out to the restroom
His wife just smiled, eyes
Affectionate, knowing, as if
Waiting was something she was
Used to – and didn’t really mind

“I’m sure you get this all the time”
And there are so many good ones
But what is your favorite
David Porter song?” I asked,
Making conversation notes

Her face became thoughtful
As the stage hands broke down
Rolling and rumbling equipment
Flight cases on casters to the
Unseen side of the stage

“No, I don’t get that at all,” she said
“But I’d have to choose,
“When Something is Wrong With my Baby,”
Past the stage lights she gazed
Searching for the shadow of a young girl

I nodded my head in agreement,
Thinking of past loves, wrong turns
Destinations lost and found
When something is wrong with my baby
Something is wrong with me


Doug Hoekstra is a Chicago-bred, Nashville-based writer. His first book, Bothering the Coffee Drinkers, appeared on the Canopic Publishing (TN) imprint in April 2006 and earned an Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) for Best Short Fiction (Bronze Medal). Several of the selections in the book appeared in other publications, and one story, “The Blarney Stone” was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize. Other stories and poems have appeared in numerous online and print literary journals and a second book of prose, The Tenth Inning, was released independently in 2015. In a previous life, he was a singer-songwriter troubadour who released seven albums of original material on labels in Europe and America. Read his previous work in Deep South here

Last Rites
Death of Porches