Adrian C. Louis

Der Führer of North Dakota

The undergrad reads her poem
about her boyfriend shooting pool
in a bar in the North Dakota oil fields.
He is dancing & drinking, doing,
she says, "the sippy sippy shake."
Sounds like "Hippy hippy shake,"
I say, but I come from another century
& no one in class knows that song.
Someone Googles it on their phone
& plays it for the class. I say, "Folks,
everybody dance now," in my best
Lawrence Welk imitation. Of course,
they do not know who he was either.
Frustrated, I climb in my time machine.

1968. Doyle & I are panhandling in L.A.
near the ABC studios where Welk beams
his schlock to the American heartland.
We're doing exceptional, our bell bottoms
bulge with coinage, so we take a break
& adjourn to an alleyway to fire one up.
At the instant we become elevated,
two Welkian musicians in sky blue
band blazers materialize inches from us.
One asks for a toke & soon all four
of us are levitating in furious laughter.
"Tell me about Lawrence Welk," I say.
"Der Führer of North Dakota," one says,
blazed out of his gourd in his sky blue blazer.

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