Note: Upon doing some rudimentary (Wikipedia) research, I found that I had unwittingly taken some poetic license in the second stanza. I kept it, however, because I felt that Caesar served his purpose as a symbol, and because poetic license tends to be acceptable in poetry.
A December day cold and snowy in the age of sweatbands synthesizers Ronald Reagan saw
Two men of musical genius meet one and another to conceivably embark on an odyssey of sound.
On his doorstep, the other jacketless open-shirted and standing still like an apparition of imagination,
Inside at the piano with hair like Einstein and humming with the cadences of Shakespeare;
The man with the mustache, fingers tobacco-stained and string-scarred listening to himself remembering How does it feel,
So much penned consciously and unconsciously valiant revolutionary efforts of sound, heard never enough by everyone, who needs it.
The man with the mustache poses a question, concerned and smirking as his dog growls, but the other defers,
His mind is turning always, searching again under old rocks for purpose of finding newly-grown moss.
The man with the mustache consents to admire in old Freak Out, and it all comes full circle when You didn’t try to call me,
The tapes even in years and years in the basement of the man with the mustache now dead, Blowing in the wind now recorded over by a football game Cowboys lose 38-3,
Now recorded over by a televangelist in a nice brown suit, pleading that you send another $250 for the work of the GOOD LORD,
Now recorded over by President George W. Bush State of the Union My fellow Americans: the Axis of Evil,
Leaving him behind to someday die and leave only a word in many voices.
Time is Jazz, and the unplayed notes will always plague the attentive listener,
What? Who? How? When? The world will never know,
Caesar gave the order and the Library burned, flecks of paper and ash drifting on the four winds as Demetrius weeps by his side,
But men like him never stop to think of the world: the obligations, the social contracts, the lives deadened by knowledge lost,
Both sent to oblivion.
Existence is an unhappy accident, dark and morbid and corrupted from within,
The stink of internal rot spreading, infecting men’s minds and driving them mad with coulda woulda shouldas,
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, with ears lent and time rent you can hear them on quiet nights:
Those unplayed notes, the music and literature and art lost to time, salvation after a while leaving only legacies,
In books and on record and in frames us: the survivors, making our way to the finish line,
The notes were played, too, and we make do.