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This poem is taken from PN Review 139, Volume 27 Number 5, May - June 2001.

Five Poems Stephen Burt

Song

          (Bis at the Bowery Ballroom)

Their spotlight jumps the nervy, packed-in fans
In the near-dark; its effervescent disc
Skips up the mezzanine, across barrettes'
Broad rhinestone squares as stones ride over streams.
          The drum machine
Kicks out across the bars; the cool
Kids crowd up front or link hands. Crackle and glow -
     If it's a new beginning
          Then I don't
          Want to know -

Discretion and ambition and distraction
And all the daytime world a cancelled stamp -
     If it's not worth pretending
          Then I don't
          Want to know -

Your silver trainers with no laces hold
Whatever matters in the lower world
If only you would dance in them.
                              Who won't
Stand up for happy endings? Who would wait
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