Poetic Plagiarism

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

Kenny O’Dell

Greg Allman

Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse

Steven Tyler

Edgar Allan Poe

William Shakespeare

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ernest Hemingway

Margaret Mitchell (novel) and Sidney Howard (screenplay), because “frankly” did not appear in the original novel.

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