radio days 1

I’m on top of the world,
looking down on creation
and trying not to jump

Ok, yes.
at the record shop lately
the big-ass boxed set
of Carpenters is there,
for cheap.
It’s all the greatest
hits, misses, never was, never will be
and it looks like somebody played the shit out of it.

I could cut it up like a d.j.
find some drum roll
some ohh-ohh
something you would hear and say
“I know that! It’s, ummmm….”
Except I’m nobody’s d.j.
and I don’t care about irony
“Oh, that’s Karen Carpenter!
That sounds so 70s.”

Karen Carpenter can speak for herself.
What is she saying?
She’s saying ‘love me
and it’ll be all right.’
She’s saying
‘There’s nothing to see here
citizen, move along.”
She’s saying
“I’m normal.
You’re normal too.”
And I’m afraid of what she sounds like
I’m afraid she sounds thin.

What did Karen Carpenter know?
And when did she know it?
did she know
we are all gonna starve
and say
‘What the hell.
Let’s get this over.”
Maybe she couldn’t face a world
where close to you
requires a mask
and mr. postman brings
foreclosure notices.

Or maybe the future
revealed itself to her,
opened the old kimono
and she knew then
we’ve only just begun
was the name of a horror movie.

maybe there’s a secret
maybe she sang sympathy for the devil
over and over again.
while the back-up girls went ohh-ohh
and Russ Kunkel played fills.
maybe she was doomed then.

I, of course, don’t know.
But I know this:
I was talking with a fellow traveler.
We were talking
about how there is no space race
no moon
no mars
nowhere beyond.
It costs too much
uses too much fuel
and besides,
we no longer want to know.
and we agree, there will be no more rockets
no more lift-offs
no more nothing
powered by Karen Carpenter songs.


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