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Joshua Elbaum | Electric Cereal

Author: Joshua Elbaum

This’ll be the day that I…

While the last piano
knelt ablaze in the streets
The final guitar smashed to driftwood over a wedding cake
The last flock of violins caught,
accidentally drowned in nets meant for tuna

We smoked backstage
We pretended to be sober for dad
We continued to bob our heads like corks
like nothing had happened
like it had always been this quiet
Didn’t notice our voices slither down
our shower drains

The day the music actually died was sunny, peaceful
The years that followed were deafening.

Every birdcall unexamined another symphony lost
we tuned our ears so fine
we could hear the earth grinding its plates
while it slept like teeth

Eventually, because of the absence of Jazzercise classes,
society began to crumble
A global emergency declared,
We began devoting all our energy as a species
To finding the notes we could barely remember
the taste of

Scientists were charged with reanimating
Frankenstein orchestras from
megaphones and moon dust and coyote hide
the concert was a failure
so they got more funding,
and retreated to their hermetically sealed garages.

We sent space shuttles out to blank targets
Submarines to the depths of ocean trenches
None returned, each captain believing that
they heard the ghost of an aria reflecting
off the wide throat of the void

Of course we prayed
government mandated, but with passion, nonetheless
Underground internet petitions started
to pool souls for one final deal with the devil

Poetry played on loudspeaker at weddings instead
but it wasn’t the same

After making love, the unsatisfied
wondered aloud to the smoke on the ceiling
Where we went so wrong as a people.
if only some song, with an immaculately catchy
chorus, had taught us to love better…

When they did return, the instruments,
it was under cover of night. That morning
we found trumpets sagging from the gutters
Oboes melting on the front lawn

But when our greedy hands lifted
their long-absent lovers to play,
no sound came.

Weeping, we moved our mute fingers
trying to remember what it was, exactly
we had so desperately needed
to sing about.