Friday, January 6, 2017

PET SOUNDS


     Oh friends, not these sounds!

     Let us instead strike up more pleasing
     and more joyful ones!

     -Prologue to “Ode to Joy”


***

If you're anything
like me,

by the time you reach to hit the keys
for poem number

fourteen hundred and one, I imagine
you'll feel this

cold, arthritic brass-
tax-feeling come threatening—

to stiffen all your fingers
and stuff cement in each ear canal.

If you're
anything like me,

you'll still be able
to hear one thing, but it's

just the dull wheeze
of your own nervous system:

the world isn't singing,
it's saying.

It's saying—who needs immediacy
of rhythms

and rhymes and songs? We've got
catchy memes now.

It's saying—are you kidding?
all men are not even

cousins, not even
drinking buddies—let alone brothers.

It's saying—I got some
bad news for you, friend,

John Wayne's
real name was Marion Morrison.

But again, if you're
anything like me,

you'll say: Fine. Great. 
Whatever. I'll just 

write it all down, 
anyway,

thinking—what the hell, 
if I'm not at least tentatively 

making music, then I'm definitely 
shushing some.

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