Friday, November 24, 2023

Just Listen to the Music of the Traffic in the City

At an anodyne franchise cafe,
Menus from corporate headquarters
Specified choices, and a pop song

Recorded some six decades ago
Streamed over the standard sound system
At an obligatory volume.

One of the two folks in a booth said,
That’s the first hit song I ever heard,
Or at least that I remember hearing.

At home we only listened to hymns
On evangelical radio,
But I was playing at a neighbor’s,

I think I was maybe about four.
It was just me and the other kid
And his mother somewhere in the house.

We were playing with plastic letters
With magnets that stuck to a white board,
A pretty boring activity,

And a radio was on somewhere
And I heard that voice soaring, you know,
“Down-town!” over and over around

The lyrics that meant nothing to me,
And to tell you the truth, I was spooked.
To my ears it sounded so eerie.

It still sounds eerie, eerier now
Since it’s that same exact recording,
Just falling out of the air somewhere.

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