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December 6, 2022

in your happiest songs,

Reuben Gelley Newman

the air’s cleft by your guitar pick, rain

strumming gently through the bright of day,

the nostalgia poets yearn for. God,

I hate the word petrichor

crepuscular’s even worse. Give me

those “New Monkey - Keys” of yours,

I don’t want pretention,

I want riff & raw & innocent

romp through chords or the hushed

rustling of “Say Yes,” I want

this major scale gleaming

like the pendulum

of a grandfather clock—

but you’re just a baby, Elliott,

torn up over a breakup or

breaking down backstage,

and I’m about to make that turn

I always make in these poems,

where I make myself into just

a boy in love with the music, but

that’s too easy, isn’t it, none of

this was meant to be easy,

I’m in love with the world

through the eyes of a—a boy,

and the song’s so sentimental,

and every revision of the poem just

gets worse, I’m trying to change keys but

it’s too distant, dissonant, I want instant

gratification, I want sentiment & cluster

& caterwaul & queer.


(after Elliott Smith)

Reuben Gelley Newman (he/him) is a writer, musician, and library worker based in Brooklyn. His poems are available or forthcoming in diode, The Fairy Tale Review, The Journal, Alien Magazine, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. A Content Editor at The Adroit Journal and a Co-Editor at Couplet Poetry, he tweets @joustingsnail.


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