An Alternate History of Rock & Roll

We don’t always get what we want,
the birdfeeder made of recycled plastic
and shaped like a shrine, a thousand
lilacs in the garden, chill breezes
like kisses and new screen
for the door. Sometimes all we get
is a grubby poster of the drummer
for KISS, face painted like a cat
and bristling with darts, delicate
dark inebriations of the vast
meow-meow. A little weird, surely;
and wired the wrong way too, inside
to out rather than modified hi-hat,
emo mosh-pit in place of congruence
of affect. But who said the highlight
of one’s life couldn’t be a car wreck?
The light, wail the roses, and they
no, not crazy. Every once in a while
there is this slight gap in the night
we crash through. This positive
buoyant light — most call it sunshine.
Or laugh-line. Some neon of song.
Hear how your one heart flip-flops
in the dark? Even without machines?
A few call it a donation when they park
their twenty-eight tubs of acoustic tiles
at the creative arts therapy lab.
“The perennial revolt of art against art”
is what Adorno calls it, but I’m not sure
we’re discussing the same it here.
He is hammering out the dialectic
of subject and object, the red squiggle
struggling against its blue background.
The raw sound of sparrows squabbling
in the dust — that’s a wholly different racket.

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