Daily Archives: May 25, 2016

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Originally posted 4/27/2013.

I turned around 
at the end of a long corridor
to seek contemporaries. 
Found a few.

Craned my neck
to find peers. 
Found a few.

Looked then for friends.  
Found very few. 
They were distant,
at the far end of the hall,

Little of what they said reached me
but from tone of voice I understood
that they felt I’d left them and
for me there was no way back.  
No matter the clear corridor,
no matter the direct path — 
there was no way back.

Edith Piaf’s voice rings out,
non, je ne regrette rien.
“I Regret Nothing.”  

Her last words?

“Every damn fool thing
you do in this life,
you pay for.”

Fingerpicking Before Dawn

“John Barleycorn Must Die”
comes on the radio before dawn.

I play the guitar
because of that song;

when I was a boy I heard
the fingerpicking before dawn,

and I could not die
without having at least tried

to play like that before dawn,
sitting alone in growing light, 

imagining I could pull the sun
closer toward the horizon 
with every note,

then break
into a hard and glorious strum

as it cleared the distant line
looking just as glorious.

It took me years to even come close,
and by then I knew how foolish

it was to think that I could make
things happen. I’d been like

the men in the song
who thought themselves strong

but ended up vanquished by 
what they thought they controlled.

Like them, though, I’m still drunk on
the myth, and this morning

my fingers woke before the rest of me,
before I fully knew what I was hearing,

and they moved
as the light in the bedroom grew.