When I was younger I learned some songs
From others; not many but some.
More often I learned through error what not to sing.
I would lie in the wreckage of my life
And sing almost all the songs to myself.
Later I came face to face with the woman
Who would ban all music from my lips.
Little by little, imperceptibly,
I stopped learning new songs.
Sitting in my stupor night after night after she had gone to bed,
Misremembering the same few tunes I never knew very well
In the first place.
I escaped from there.
Then I met the woman who knew so many songs,
Inspired me to learn so many new songs
And better understand the old ones.
She sang me her songs.
I sang her my songs.
She opened my heart
And I hers
But still the sky fell all around us,
Crashing and booming
We couldn’t hear the voice
Of the other
Over the din of the violence.
There was so much pain in our cadence,
Sadness in our lyrics,
Lost in the noises of demolition.
I cried when I heard her sing some of the same songs
In anger, in petulance, in desperation
I tried to sing my songs to others as well.
It didn’t work. The words did not fit together
They were rote and no longer bore meaning.
She too found her songs suddenly lifeless
She longed to sing songs to me again
And I never stopped wanting to sing to her
So that is what we will do.
The sky is still falling
And the walls collapsing
We’ll learn some new songs
No matter what
And sing them
As if our lives
Depended upon them.
And they do.