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February 25, 2021

Mourning # 6

Mourning # 6


“music began 

in the midst of the mourning”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies


The shriek glissades to a moan

A major to F# minor

then the whimper on the exhale

in straight D on the upbeat

the palm slaps the chair arm

or pant leg or pillow case

a few staccato pulsations in double time

even the silence that enters the house

is musical, at night, when the guests

leave, the virus leaves with them

until there’s breathing on two notes

inhale here exhale there, over

and over.


---- Armando Manzanero, 85, died of COVID-19

in December 2020 after 6 days on a ventilator.

He was Mexico’s premier songwriter and pop singer.

His romantic ballads were performed by Sinatra,

Elvis and Perry Como. Manzanero won a life-

time achievement Grammy in 2014. He wrote over

400 songs and made 30 records. He was still working

when he got sick. The Mexican Society of Authors

and Composers called him, “the romantic soul of Mexico”

and said, “the world is in mourning.” He was married

four times. Manzanero was rather short, but he was

a giant of Mexican music.


Was that sound the swish of a brush on a snare drum

or his spirit flying away to wherever those things go?


And tomorrow

Should you ask me for the world

Somehow I’d get it

I would sell my very soul

And not regret it

For to live without your love

It’s just impossible


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