When Modes of Music Change
There's an old guy playing ragas in the living room
where there'd only been cats and incense and bad karma.
Between each raga, he plays contes picked up from Spanish
Gypsies when he ventured into their caves, his guitar
protecting him from their knives. And between each conte
he tells stories from 1964—not before or after:
beach dwelling in Puerto Vallarta right when Night
of the Iguana was filmed and Liz Taylor's and Dick's
blistering presence scorched his beach-house; the moment he
learned all the music in the world boiled down to seven
modes and that he had to alternate between major
and minor keys, because sometimes things start out good and
then go bad--before they can ever get good again.
Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz were both published in 2018. Craniotomy Sestinas appeared in 2020. He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens College in Ohio.