Redemption of a music snob


Maybe you’re listening late at night to one of those rogue
FM stations that broadcast out of basements,
the ones nobody thinks exist anymore,

and this melody calls out, as though from a basket
left on a porch, and you snatch it up,
run down the block, wave a cab, and speed home.

It’s your song and you play it for choice friends, telling them
how apropos—intimately so—it stroked you, how it hit
the pond behind your eyes and rippled till your bones sang.

O Sing! O Dance! You’ll be its knight-errant, its chivalrous
midwife, play it at daybreak, walk it by the water on warm
afternoons, tuck it in your Etymotic earbuds at night.

And on those odd occasions you hear it played,
perhaps through the window of a passing Prius,
and you feel a pin-prick of resentment,

you’ll cheer yourself in the knowledge
that you are its true propagator.
But one day you’re standing at the condiment,

station in Starbucks, pouring cream into your Grande
Bold and you hear that familiar chord pattern,
and you look back and see the line brighten, beck,

move, dip, shuffle, maybe like you, those months ago,
only now the hot flush of betrayal is brewing within.
You try playing it that night but it’s no good.

It’s been sold to rank and file,
and the bloom is off,
it has the whiff of the common trough.

So you disown it, say you’re long over it,
tell your circle you spotted its pretension early,
and that there’s a new band out of Iceland…

Then, twenty years on, you’re in your car
at a drive-through, listening to GOLD FM
and you hear that lick and hook and you’re reeled in.

And suddenly all is forgiven in the remembering,
and you smile into the rearview because the guy behind
is grinning, head bobbing, just like you.

Just like the visor-hatted girl who hands you your burger
and fries, just like all the heads in the parking lot,
nodding like flowers to one rhythmic wind.

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