Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Thousand Sitars

The song turned out to be prophetic.
Something was going to happen
in the black hills of Dakota,
and the building had been named
because the stones rose from a desolation
that looked like the upper Midwest in winter.

The people in the cheap seats had clapped.
Those in the box seats had rattled their jewelry.
The performers bowed,
and the curtain came down.

When it came up again,
time slipped forward,
careening past naked light bulbs
atrung like daisy chains on Coney Island
into a purple haze,
and Max Yasgur leased his farm
to his children’s children’s children
as a generation turned over in its grave.

The curtain came down again
during Monday Night Football.
Bob sang “roll on, John,”
and all cried grief for the bull.

I looked in the rearview mirror
over the long years,
the music always there,
Sometimes in dreams I hear sitars chanting
like a thousand monks on a mountain top.

I still hear them,
though I don’t have to play the vinyl backwards.
I pick up a guitar on most days
and get back to where I once belonged.

~William Hammett

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