If Anna Karenina Only Had a Singing Voice (poem)

They all saw American Idol last night.
And just look at them this morning,
full of musical ambitions
they didn’t even know they had.
By the water cooler,
it’s a thousand variations on,
“There, but for fortune,
it’s me up there, belting out Unchained Melody.”

Better that, I suppose, than if they’d
finally reached the last chapter of Anna Karenina,
recognized themselves in her,
and were, even now, preparing to swan-dive
in the path of oncoming locomotives.

We need our dreams
even if it’s three-minute pop songs
that hold them;
tuneless warblers, who won’t let them go.

An office full of people
wounded in love,
romantically suicidal,
would not get the job done.
They sing Lady Marmalade
in their heads and file.
At the copy machine,
wannabe Streisand makes copies,
Steven Tyler aspirant waits his turn.

Unfulfilled, sure, but at least
they’ll take the train tonight.
It won’t take them.

John Grey