The Ears Gone Bye
by Gary Glauber
Even after our relationship fell to pieces,
we still shared an eclectic taste in music.
Still it had been years since last
we’d last been in touch.
So when your proposed playlist
for my upcoming wedding
arrived out of nowhere,
I didn’t know what to expect.
Who had told you? How did you find me?
Who even knew you anymore?
Yet I downloaded it immediately,
put headphones on & pressed play.
Nice to start it out with the techno vibe
of Epigraph’s “Parade of Colors,”
right into the sweet harmonies of
“One if By Sea” by The Polemics.
Who would ever imagine that kind of mix?
Only you. Who would even know
that Rhododendron Downer’s “Tree of Levers”
perfectly fades into the starting notes
of Sound of Cubists’ “Barely Mentioned?”
Genius. I was overcome by strange memories.
That summer in the desert attending Roasted Ear,
when I first spotted you, dancing atop some
bearded guy’s shoulders, when Gabriel & the Hellhounds
played their monster hit, “Dirty Whispers;”
it caught my attention. Your beautiful voice
stood out from the crowd, & when you sang along
to French Equation’s “Hybrid Mattress”
I couldn’t believe your lyrical prowess.
You didn’t miss a syllable of those
sixty-fourth note words. You were a marvel.
I vowed to get to know you better.
You told me about your stint as a backup singer
on The Blatant Lies’ phenomenal “Mexican Goddess.”
You knew every song by my favorite obscure bands:
“Garden of Rascals” by Cascading Marauders, “
“Whenever You Bait the Switch” by Psychotic Episode,
even knew that when you held the debut album cover
of “The Flimsy Assertions” up to a mirror, you could
find clues as to how Frankie Pixel drowned in the pool
of that famous billionaire’s Parisian palace.
When Luke & The Two Thieves announced their breakup,
we made sure to be there for their final appearance
at The Stereophonic Club, front row center.
That was at least a few lifetimes ago.
We were loud, brash, opinionated, & stubborn,
all traits not conducive to a healthy relationship.
We argued between the notes of musical agreement;
it got ugly fast & never recovered.
Now I am a changed man, sporting what might
be any mild enthusiast’s Spotify playlist.
Gone are the eclectic sounds of Pansy Principle,
One-Act Festival, & Long Throw from Third.
My fiancé wouldn’t know any of these bands,
but music isn’t her thing. To be honest,
it isn’t much my thing either anymore.
Those abstruse bands of yore no longer
form the soundtrack to my life. Now I collect
formulae & spreadsheets, listening to the
musical equivalent of white noise as I
study important trends & track necessary data.
When your last song started playing,
Hakuna Lambada’s “Centennial Exhibition,”
I admit it did touch me a bit, made me nostalgic
for those younger, crazier times.
Don’t think I don’t appreciate the effort you put
into meticulously crafting this musical collage
for me and my intended. I do.
But that list was for someone that you used to know,
whose song no longer remains the same.
Author’s note: None of the music mentioned in the poem exists.
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press), are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers.