There he stands.
Looking strikingly like the man,
the musician, I’ve always known.
Strange meeting him here,
in a toy shop,
if, in fact, this is
the folk troubadour wandering through my living room record collection back home.
with calm eyes and posture.
It can’t be him.
It doesn’t matter now.
It’s so special to meet this man, whoever he is.
He says nothing.
He looks at me like he knows me.
Like he cares.
People – customers – don’t do that. How strange.
But I do know him,
from lyrics sung about heartbreak,
truth, and celebration.
if it is Jackson Browne,
he knows how gratefully I embraced each of those.
The real Jackson Browne
has too many fans to know such things.
This man –
short in height
with beard rubble protruding from a compassionate face –
wears cool, casual clothes,
(freezing images of his stormy life on the rock and roll road, the megastar I expected to see).
There’s no less appropriate moment
to meet a soulful artist
than on a market showplace sales floor.
I almost want to apologize, but then,
because we understand each other,
I know he is with me.
But so quickly,
he is gone,
whoever he was,
lost in a customer crowd,
and out the door.
Yes, I did meet Jackson Browne today.
I know this man.
He looked at me like he knew me.
Like he cared.
Just like he cares about his songs
and his connection to the domain of people.
From spoken lyric
to radio station
to wavelengths through space
across to me – on Earth, in my town, my world, this shop – and my little transistor of senses.
So light a journey, so weighty his peaceful, universal words.
That’s a super star.