Denver poet Bob Cooperman grew up listening to the Grateful Dead play in 1960s New York City.

Vic Vela/CPR News

The Grateful Dead were an American music institution with legions of followers. Among them is Denver poet Bob Cooperman.

The writer grew up seeing the Dead perform in his home town, New York City, in the late 1960s. Now he's written a collection of poems about his favorite band. Cooperman talked to Colorado Matters and CPR's resident Deadhead Vic Vela about the book, "Saved by the Dead."

Read "Marijuana Sauce" by Bob Cooperman

Flustered when the pretty counter girl
in her skintight tee-shirt
at the local sandwich shop asked,
“Cheese?” on my eggplant sub,
without thinking, I answered,

“Just marijuana sauce,” my face
suddenly red, as if I’d toked too much
into my not-as-young-as-they-used-to-be
lungs, and was coughing it all
into the blue and unpolluted sky.

“Marina sauce!” I corrected myself
before I thought she’d heard
that Freudian slip: years since
I’d last indulged.

She sent my order to the cook,
and while handing me my change,
whispered, right out of the Village’s
Fillmore East, circa 1969,

“That can be arranged.”

I blushed as if she’d proposed
something even more intimate,
and shook my head,

“But thanks for asking,” I whispered.

“No worries,” she shrugged,
attentive to the next customer,
and I had a smiling inkling
of my wife’s glow, when guys
hit on her in the university’s pool.