In old days, when they tried to figure out
how to write the sweetest melodies, they fell
on a bed, chewed the pillow. A moon rankled
in the crevices of a shutter. In 1935
the skirts were long and flared slightly,
suitably. Hats shaded part of the face.
Lipstick was fudgy and encouraging. There was
music in the names of the years. 1937
was welcoming too, though one bit one’s lip
preparing for the pain that was sure to come.

“That must be awful.” I was hoping you could
imagine it. Yet I will be articulate
again and articulate what we knew anyway
of what the lurching moon had taught us,
seeking music where there’s something dumb
being said.

And if it comes back to being all alone
at the starting gate, so be it. We hadn’t wanted
this fuss, these extras. We were calm
under an appearance of turmoil, and so we remain
even today, an unwanted inspiration
to those who come immediately after
as well as those who came before, lots of them,
stretching back into times of discussion.
I told you so, we can handle it, hand on
the stick shift headed into a billboard
labeled Tomorrow, the adventures of new music,
melismas shrouding the past and the passing days.