I’ve come to believe that no one writes the music
And maybe we don’t write the stories
I’ve come to believe we set it free
That it is always here
The music, the words
The swell of energy that makes release a relief
It is always here in underground currents,
In blank white space
As trade winds, in metal that creaks
As hidden springs, in hollowed-out trees
And while I’ve come to believe
That we can hear it any time we are alive
I’ve also come to believe that it takes time to develop an ear
For certain notes, other stories, the same way it takes a while
To develop a taste for mustard
Or the ability to say no without guilt
Or to understand what love really is.
And so it takes that same while to figure out what must be done
To release the rhythm waiting
And it takes that same while to appreciate
What someone else had to do to hear it, to know it
And to set it free.
Those who listened with their collarbones
Those who composed at the steering wheel
Those who played just the one note as a fertility rite
Until the words come rumbling up like a freedom rally made of people
Who used to be stones or pieces of a bird’s nest
Moving into the foreground, amplified anew.
Once we’ve done it we know we’ve tapped something elemental about our existence
That all this carbon-based living is underscored
By lyrics waiting for us to develop an ear or an eye
Or a willing hand.
When we are brave enough to crack open the matter
Holding back the things that matter
When it first turns the head of a listener,
When it catches the breath of a reader,
When it prompts the involuntary closure
Of the eyes of the beholder
The underlying alarm is recognition
It is a yes, and sometimes no I don’t want this to be yes
But it is yes. It is This is me and I am made of This
And we know because we feel a little more complete when we hear it.
Because I will survive
Because mama he’s crazy
Because I’ve got one more silver dollar
Because this old world is a new world and a bold world for me
Because maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away
Because while I pondered weak and weary
Because rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
Because the world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places
Because that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool
Because frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
And when we return to stones and pieces of birds’ nests
The music will still be here. The words will wait again.
For freedom fighters who will think they’ve made something new
Until our old souls hear and feel and recognize
Remember and reconnect
Picking up the last lines wherever they were left to rest.
In order of appearance:
Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris
Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse
Edgar Allan Poe
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Margaret Mitchell (novel) and Sidney Howard (screenplay), because “frankly” did not appear in the original novel.