BEFORE BILLIE HOLIDAY THERE WAS NO SADNESS

Image result for billie holiday

Misery is not the same thing as sadness. Misery

Belongs to the history of the world; even the mineral world

Invokes misery: stone in the dark, buried deep under stone.

I worry about going into the ground when I die,

When I’m lying on my bed alone.

Lonely misery is commonplace

And misery is written on every older face,

Even the handsome ones having affairs to remember.

Sadness isn’t misery. Sadness is thinking about September

A little sadly, in a slightly sadder spring

Because the calendar—a practical invention—

Turned device to make reflective sadness a thing,

Like the phonograph record, a thing

Used by the recording industry, which found, accidentally,

If a miserable woman, in a pool of light, will sing,

Sadness can be boiled down from misery,

As when the distiller makes good whiskey

From plants, fermented—which once grew

Towards the sun, happy, exactly like you.

Did you ever hear sadness like Billie Holiday’s before?

Or do you buy it like eggs, at the corner store?

 

 

5 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 6, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Sadness like the sadness of stones. I like this poem very much but please (if you are) do not think about going into the ground. It won’t be real you there anyway. We just moult. Hmm. Maybe that’s not the best image in the world either.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      March 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      It’s just your seashell under the ground.

  2. March 6, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    ‘Strange fruit …’ ,
    words that changed the world.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      March 7, 2018 at 12:56 am

      Very courageous song.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    March 7, 2018 at 4:15 am

    There is a lot to like about this poem on repeated readings. I especially like that the pop up convenience store popped up at the end of the music. Like a forgotten grocery list item intruded itself into the musical reverie.


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