New Songs

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.

One day

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

To others.

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

And tuneless.

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.



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