Louie Louie Oh No we gotta go
Eleven years old
A Boy Scout at the Hyde Park YMCA
Looking to get my Swimming Merit Badge
Scared of Polio in the pool
Scared of the chlorine
Scared of drowning
The Scout instructor shouting,
“Twenty laps.”
“One lap underwater.”
“Rescue your buddy.”

Scared of the cold polio water
Scared of after lesson showers
The Scout instructors liked young boys.
Not me.
No Village People in the YMCA
Not in 1963.

Only naked men and boys in the steamy showers
I saw nothing
Eyes shut
I felt nothing
Only my hands and the steam
I heard moans
Of boys and men
I knew nothing
Not the word ‘fuck’.
I was pure
Audio pure of curse words and their meanings
Singing Louie Louie in the shower.

Another boy liked Louie Louie too
A normal name
His left leg was missing
John was from Readville
My age
He knew more than me
Maybe because he had less life ahead
We sang Louie Louie together

In the locker room
Not the showers
The Kingsmen song was a hit
Banned on the radio.
A hit Arnie Ginsberg played twice a night.
50000 watts of power

At the end of the AM dial
Next to WILD
The black station
They played LOUIE LOUIE too

John told me why
“Someone says fuck in it.”
Catholic boy ignorance.
John taught the meaning.
“People in and out.”
He rubbed his stump.
He told me more.
He laughed at my altar boy ignorance.
There was no ‘fuck’ in the Mass Litany
Or the Bible.
Only fuck in LOUIE LOUIE
Fuck on 50000 watts
Fuck across the USA
“Yeah fuck.”

It was the youth of America’s secret
From coast to coast
A cool secret on the night airwaves
One-legged John hummed the opening
I hummed too

Only one problem

What was fuck?
I knew nothing
I could ask no one
I experimented with my sister’s Barbie and Ken
Naked dolls
Nothing made sense.
“I gotta ta go, yeah yeah yeah.”
“Louie Louie I got ta go
Yeah yeah yeah

ps I only knew One Leg John from the swimming lessons
pps LOUIE LOUIE was originally at 1956 hit by Richard Berry

According to Wikipedia just prior to the song’s release, Berry sold his portion of the publishing and songwriting rights for “Louie Louie” and four other songs for $750 to Max Feirtag, the head of Flip Records, to raise cash for his upcoming wedding.

In the mid-1980s, Berry was living on welfare. Drinks company California Cooler wanted to use “Louie Louie” in a commercial, but discovered it needed Berry’s consent because he still owned the radio and television performance rights. The company asked the Artists Rights Society to locate him which led to Berry’s taking legal action to regain his rights to the song. The settlement made Berry a millionaire.

Yeah Louie Louie.
We gotta go

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