On the Boston Avenue pedestrian bridge
over the railroad tracks in downtown Tulsa,
lies the so-called Center of the Universe,
marked by a concrete circle. As a result
of some unexplained phenomenon,
if you stand inside the circle
and speak or shout or sing, your voice
takes on a vibrato or tremolo
quality that only you can hear,
regardless of the direction you face.
It lends its name to a music festival
now in progress, and apparently
also morphs time and space
to produce weird twists of fate.
For example, many bands are playing,
but just one I want to hear tonight–
the Mowglis–were to play at nine-thirty,
but unexpected rescheduling
moved them back to six 0’clock,
so I missed them and was angry.
But then I see a Tweet from them
about a short acoustic set
they’re doing later, not on stage,
but on the bridge right at the Center.
So I head out to try to catch them,
and craziness ensues–traffic,
parking confusion, misplaced wallet,
general mayhem, lines for wristbands,
then more lines for beer, clock ticking,
but then I arrive and find myself
sitting on a bench with them,
chatting while they wait for their gear,
and then the set, though short, is brilliant,
close-up, intimate; fans of all ages
singing along, clapping, and dancing.
In the moment, it really feels
like some universal center.
T. Allen Culpepper