Wednesday, May 10, 2017

explaining a jukebox

I would have liked to walk with you that day
instead of walking with lonesomeness, the whoosh of autumn leaves
behind me and a turn at every corner, to imagined otherness
I would have like to walk with you that day

arrive exactly where I found you, at the end of October,
with a cigarette half dangling in your mouth
smoke inhaled, not yet exhaled, until you saw me
a dress, short with pride and patches of black and white

you carried around an intense energy,
yet bound your ankle a shade of guilt between the beads of your anklet
of things done in secret; lovers kissed on the mouth when marriage
was the only tie that lead you home

still I would have liked to walk with you
to the end of the crowded bar, where you asked
for the source of music, pied-pieper, piped to the wall
before the dingy bathroom, behind the pool table

across from the bar where we sat, served expensive alcohol
in cheap glasses. You protested, again, on the sound of the Beatles
not coming to your years and I had to explain
how to flip years of music-making into compact CDs, black on the outside

holographic with notes and somber melodies. A dollar in and a few arguments
over whose music suits best the minute,
for each minute has its song, each memory, river-long a piece
to undress it to its core

I turn my head and explain how row behind row
like schoolchildren the songs line up,
from the belly of the old-looking machine that matches nothing
in the bar except an old sofa, this is not a place for youth

but it is a place for the present
for a few moments a jukebox, I say, is the world.

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