Wise Poets – Roxane Beth Johnson – Blues for Almost Forgotten Music

Roxane Beth Johnson

I am trying to remember the lyrics of old songs
I’ve forgotten, mostly
I am trying to remember one-hit wonders, hymns,
and musicals like West Side Story.
Singing over and over what I can recall, I hum remnants on
buses and in the car.

I am so often alone these days with echoes of these old songs
and my ghosted lovers.
I am so often alone that I can almost hear it, can almost feel
the half-touch of others,
can almost taste the licked clean spine of the melody I’ve lost.

I remember the records rubbed with static and the needle
gathering dust.
I remember the taste of a mouth so sudden and still cold from
wintry gusts.
It seemed incredible then — a favorite song, a love found.
It wasn’t, after all.

Days later, while vacuuming, the lyrics come without thinking.
Days later, I think I see my old lover in a café but don’t,
how pleasing
it was to think it was him, to finally sing that song.

This is the way of all amplitude: we need the brightness
to die some.
This is the way of love and music: it plays like a god and
then is done.
Do I feel better remembering, knowing for certain
what’s gone?

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