Poetry November 2007

Doo-Wop

Does anyone but me ever wonder
where these old doo-wop stars you see
in purple tuxedos with mauve lapels
on public-television marathons
have been between the distant time when they
recorded their hit (usually only one,
one huge one, that being the nature of doo-wop)
and now, when, bathed in limelight and applause,
the intact group re-sings it, just like then?

They have aged with dignity, these men,
usually black, their gray hairdos still conked,
their up-from-the-choir baby faces lined
with wrinkles now, their spectacles a-glimmer
upon their twinkling eyeballs as they hit
the old falsetto notes and thrum-de-hums,
like needles dropped into a groove, the groove
in which both they and we are young again,
the silent years skipped over.

                                   Who knows
what two-bit gigs and muddled post-midnights
they bided their time in? And when at last
the agitated agent’s call came through—
the doo-wop generation old enough
and rich enough by now to woo again,
on worthy telethons this time around,
nostalgia generating pledges—why
was not a weathered man of the quartet
deceased or otherwise impaired? How have
they done it, come out whole the other side,
how did they do it, do it still, still doo?

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