Golden Chords, Golden Shovel

It wasn’t ‘til the
summer before senior year we’d pool
our talents together. They said we’re just players,
which we were, the Seven
of us, each earnest at
our instruments. We named the
group with a lofty title, the Golden
Chords; guitars, drums, keyboard, horns
and even a Shovel
instead of cowbell. We
wanted our tunes to sound sur-real,
we thought ourselves the ultimate cool,
imaging in our dorm rooms we
were progressive, our music left
of radical. The first concert? In the school
auditorium. Having practiced all summer, we
bravely faced failure that might lurk
behind each tune, but played late
into that Friday night, with encores we
improvised. We felt ready to strike
out after graduation to the clubs, not straight
jobs. It was an effort to agree, but we
did, even got the shovel player to sing.
Who knew what a great voice he had, a sin
of omission that boosted us to the fests. We
honed our skills into the tight and thin,
yet slowly let our lives go to drugs and gin,
then toured the world, but in the haze we
ourselves created, married now to jazz
as if June
brides to syncopation, no families be we
Seven, ‘til I saw each one of us die,
except me, here to hand over a swansong soon.

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About the Author

Cynthia Gallaher is a Chicago-based poet and author of four poetry collections, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices (The Poetry Box, Portland, 2019), and three chapbooks, including Drenched (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, N.C., 2018). The Chicago Public Library lists her among its “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets.” She is a two-time alumna of the Writers' Colony.

Cynthia Gallaher
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