“1979” by James Goertel at Friday Poetry.

“1979” by James Goertel at Friday Poetry.
1979. March 4 – The U.S. Voyager I spaceprobe photos reveal Jupiter's rings.

1979. March 4 – The U.S. Voyager I spaceprobe photos reveal Jupiter’s rings.

“1979”We listened through open, summer windows
to Billy sing “1979”
to the living left among us;
the end of dog days still somewhere
beyond our humid kisses; lips swimming
stinging gin or cheap beer and miming
words lost in translation; dusk’s blue murder
barely a thought
as crickets joined a drunken chorus;
our courage reinvented over and over,
night after June then July night;
the dead vines of winter
laden overhead once more; hushing with our hands
the uncommitted mouths of incidental, accidental,
temporary lovers
turning imperfectly, imperceptibly in our arms
in an Occidental world
poised, but patiently waiting,
to turn as well beneath, then on and away from
clumsy feet dancing down the decade
between la fin de teenage dreams
and as good as dead at thirty
spent humming zipper blues,
spent looking for love, a fling, a fuck;
ignoring the speed of sound, the age of reason
whispering in our pierced ears
that the end is coming; none of us
wanting, able, smart or sober enough
to hear the clarion call above the slur
of mutually reassuring voices; safe beside each other,
from ourselves, from growing older
and apart
while singing one last song together;
an encomium to being younger than we were,
will ever be again.


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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