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Not recalling what we were to rehearse
or new songs to learn
knowing my mother had the singing voice
the solo voice
where I am always too flat, too sharp
off-key, my voice fills in the cracks
sitting in Music Class
an average scheduled school day

Then a classmate Karen walks in
holding up a 45
Can we play this?
asking our Music teacher
a slight younger man
a Cat Stevens around the edges,
he played and taught
guitar, too

It was like any school day
until needle touched vinyl
for six minutes long
we were all gobsmacked
on the scale of opera
but clearly rock and roll

We demanded to hear it again
and again and again until
the bell rang

I didn’t know then
what I heard was a risk, a very bodacious risk
we needed to feel something deeper at 15
beyond our interior struggles of
adolescent angst, being old enough
but not of age

Something that took us outside of ourselves
dream what is impossibly possible
thank you, Freddie, for shifting
what started as any school day
for punching a hole in our sky

Most of you reading this poem will at some point understand who this poem is about. The title has nothing to do with our country’s centennial but the year I was fifteen and was exposed for the first time, to the musical legend, Queen and its lead singer-songwriter, Freddie Mercury.

 

 

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