Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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The Day Disco Died

It is 12:15 in Washington D.C., a Monday,
the day after an earthquake in Italy, and I'm listening
to "I Feel Love," the song Bryan Ferry said would change
music for good. In Afghanistan a Marine
sergeant tweets about boredom and generators
from a gritty keyboard in Combat Outpost Marjah.
I conjure up the unrelenting sand he describes
in 140 characters while a new Barnard BA strategizes her type
of rekindling and a poli-sci grad at Liberty types up an op/ed
on Romney and values,
and stories get made this way, then taken down.
Just as quickly, the imprint of one a ghost
in the other, the way Harvard links two opponents,
the way a fracture is also a seam.
Songs about rivers inflect an Italian art revolution
against austerity,
or we're forces multiplied both in the streets
of Chicago or in the alliances of nations.
Or we once listened to a soundtrack in falsetto
that sounded like the end of the past
and also the future as our parents waited hours for gas,
but still danced to these new thumps in the analog network
we made of our lives then,
except that time or history whispered their own songs
along the keyboard
and pushed us into the tangle of before,
and the web of last
where everyone and I are still that held breath,
made sharp and vital harmony.

by Carmen Gimenez Smith, NPR news poet

All Things Considered's NewsPoet is produced and edited by Ellen Silva with production assistance from Rose Friedman.

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