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
I remember the taste of a mouth so sudden and still cold from
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,
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
Roxane Beth Johnson, “Blues for Almost Forgotten Music” from Jubilee. Copyright © 2006 by Roxane Beth Johnson. Reprinted by permission of Anhinga Press.
Source: Jubilee (Anhinga Press, 2006)
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