Sunday, June 18, 2023


 Satellite Radio

I listen to the satellite radio in the car

Can’t stand commercials 

The only problem is that the signal sometimes

just goes out. Those binary bits of songs riding along on quantum waves 

apparently need, at all times, a clean and unobstructed path

Occasionally it happens driving through a tunnel

or waiting to pay to exit a parking garage.

The station flatlines and everything goes silent

It always comes back but still…

I never get back the best parts

of the song I’ve missed 

Which hardly seems fair, given the costs.

Sometimes the signal goes out

several minutes after I’ve unroofed myself,

some sort of time delay built into the system

But it’s weird nonetheless

sitting in a parking lot wondering 

why the world has gone silent

Tinkering with knobs, then, oh yeah

the drive-thru when I was picking up lunch

the I-270 overpass a couple miles back

Usually it happens at the most inopportune time
Crescendoing into some rousing coda

like right when the Boss is about to yowl on

about the poets who've stopped writing

and are just standing back and letting it all be

or New Order misted by addled memory

going on about your blue eyes

your green eyes, your gray eyes

which, if you miss that, ruins the whole song,

as far as I’m concerned.

I feel the same way about my own

finicky signal beaming down

from a distant galaxy far far away where everything makes sense

and gravity is the wrong term for what actually keeps us grounded.

I’ll find myself standing in line at a gas station

wearing a sauce blotched t-shirt and designer jorts 

bearing a bag of pizza flavored Combos

and suddenly I just lose it

What am I holding?

Why am I here?

For whom am I waiting?

I don't know where I am on the spectrum

somewhere slower than infrared

but a twitch beyond the ultraviolet.

All I know is it doesn't take much to block it—

all those diaphanous marquees and canvas canopies 

I’ve walked beneath over the years 

Sometimes it’s an immediate shut-down

People walking with me when this happens

think, what happened to his music?

And there’s nothing I can say

but stand there in the silence 

waiting for them to catch the first 

riffs of another song somewhere down the lane.

But it often manifests itself years after

I’ve wandered under some looming blockade

Just today I was scratching my head

trying to recall whose wings

I once huddled under

that sad and rainy day long ago

when the tune cut out 

You wouldn’t know it even

if you thought you knew me but 

I’ve always been a closeted optimist

doggedly clinging to the hope

that all the songs I’ve ever loved

will someday come back


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