I miss the singing.
Hymns in church.
Bar room anthems.
Crowdsong at the end of a Rennaisance faire.
Bluegrass bands in the basement.
It is not the music. There is music enough.
In my favorite eclectic diner.
In the car. In my studio, loud
with Dire Straits, Lou Reed and Amy Winehouse.
Sinatra sings as I soak in the tub.
Yes, there is music enough
and I often find yourself singing
with whatever is momentarily on the stereo,
my raspy tenor voice seeing the harmony line,
no one there to hear my mistakes or enthusiasm.
It is good for me, singing,
but better to be singing with,
along, surrounded by other voices caught
in the same energy,
one of us feeding on the other,
a fellowship of flats, sharps and naturals,
a caught-up-in-itness that has fallen all too silent.
Empty choir lofts.
No arms around each other bar boys weaving,
Sitting, sipping coffee,
I wonder where all that energy has gone.
Newton insists it is never lost, energy,
but without song, together,
where might it be? What is that energy feeding?
Anxiety? Loss? Depression? Frustration?
Anger? Darkness? Sadness? What?
Sitting in the diner, the cook sings from across the room. .
B.B. King on the stereo. Lucile wailing.
And I sing with him.
Never mind the eyes of the diners.
The regulars are used to us.
The cook sings baritone. You tenor, half an octave up.
or so. Music in real life is often imprecise.
Most things are.
You sing from across the room.
Never mind the quality. This is not a show.
It is an exchange.
Safety for sanity.
A reclaiming of energy
if only for a moment.
About this poem
No, I was not singing at the diner this morning. I am at my second chance diner, not my favorite one. But Ray (the cook and owner of my favorite diner, which is closed till April) and I have been known to break into song when the music and the mood was right. The regulars are used to it.
I really do miss singing together. I miss it a lot. I don’t think I had realized how much I would miss live music through this time of quarantine. And it’s not even the music, it’s the shared energy. Isolation is a bitch.
PS: The picture was taken at the Sterling Renaissance Faire, a few years ago.