Thursday, September 08, 2005

Trying to Sing

After rereading my last entry, I decided I needed something to encourage me to stay sober. So, I found this wonderful poem by Philip Memmer and I wanted to share it.  For some reason, this poem affected me deeply, the way good poetry supposed to do. I don’t want to be a “never-quite-was,” don’t want to be a fool who refuses to sing his song.

The One-Hit Wonder’s Lover

The catchy beat, the clever turn of phrase,
the melody that throws you twenty summers
to your first love, the one you don’t forget—

that’s what he was humming when I found him,
stocking freezer shelves at A & P.
Hair thinning, thicker around the middle,

yes, but still, how did I fail to see him
and for how long, pushing my stuck-wheeled cart
past weekly sales, the Flavors of the Month?

Not a has-been but a never-quite-was.
He was the life-size poster on my wall
and then the life-size poster in my closet

when the new song, the one we’ve all forgotten,
reminded us how love could never last.
But he had a song, and that’s one song more

than any other man I’ve known has sung.
It’s somewhere in him now, though he won’t sing.

© Philip Memmer published in Poetry

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