The Day the Music Changed Keys




December 9, 1980.

My two month old

daughter is colicky.

 Pacing the floor, I ask


my three year old son for a towel,

fold it on my shoulder.

 Good Morning America comes on.

“John Lennon dead at forty.


John Lennon was shot yesterday

near his New York Home.”

Bleeding News.

This is not instant Karma.


It was hard enough losing

the Beatles. We had their work, 

the four parts.

Life made other plans.


John, vulnerable one,

the peace march one,

the Libra one,

like the three of us.


The world is filled with violins

cellos and violence.

Didn’t he sing “War is over

if you want it?”


Somebody waged

their own private

war, shot his gun

and we lost.


Later I’m exhausted.

I take both kids

into the bedroom

prepare for a nap.





When it looks like they will

finally fall asleep,

I sit holding the guitar,

try to do vocal exercises,


visualize breaths

floating through my fingers,

then break up.

His voice is everywhere.


Love is real,

death is make believe.

I try to make sense

out of art,


out of songs,

out of poems

that form anagrams

like a spilled game


of scrabble,

pieces falling

to the floor, illegible,

some of them blank.


I look at stacks

of record albums,

black vinyl and truth,

a circular game of Simon,


a tonal quartet,

in red, yellow, blue and green,

where A, E, C#,  and E

toss tones back and forth.


The music has changed

keys today,

slipped into minor.

My two children sleep



a funeral dirge

in the air

among us.



~ by dianeklammer on August 22, 2013.

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