Day 20

Challenge: Write about high school and music

I didn’t know anything about love then except

for what I read in books or, over and over,
alone in my room, lying on my bed, 
heard in songs —

Foghat declaring, live, that they feel like makin love,
Fleetwood Mac’s songbird singing that it knows the score,
James Taylor seeing fire and rain, 
Foreigner claiming to be hot-blooded, 
the Eagles living life in the fast lane.

At dance parties I hoped I’d be chosen
to hang on a boy in the dark, swaying in circles, 
sweating in our separate skins to Led Zeppelin's 
“Stairway to Heaven,” Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,”
or Phil Collins’ relentless drums, feel it coming 
in the air, oh Lord, waiting for this moment
all my life —

mostly, I stood separate, watching others
complete their circles, sketching territories that
didn’t include me, that didn’t recognize my passport,
breathing in Tom Petty, an ugly man with 
barracuda teeth, who told me I didn’t have to live
like a refugee, and Neil Young, with his high,
strange voice, like a man strangling in his own throat, 
who reminded me to keep on searching for a heart of gold,
even as we both, impossibly, inevitably, grew old.

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