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The Music

Janis Joplin, Monterey

In 1969, the music was everything.
It was the music that spoke for us
and brought us all together.
Songs could tell the saddest stories,
or of unspeakable joy.
There were crazy songs with nonsense words
that said something different to each of us,
while the yearning guitar reached beyond us
and the drum beats brought us back together.

Joining hands with a circle of strangers
in Golden Gate Park — after the sound
of the first quiet "OM" — other voices joining in
until the sound was all there was —

This was what I came for — A girl from Redwood City
looking for a natural high!
I knew I could do it without drugs,
and here I was holding hands with a circle of
beautiful blissed-out strangers —
each with some personal vision of beauty, that,
if you looked into their eyes,
you could see it too.

I was always dancing in those days —
at the Fillmore or the Avalon Ballroom —

Janice Joplin's too rough and too fragile notes
seemed to stretch beyond mere human
without breaking
so that I could know —

If she could survive
the beauty and pain of it all —

so could I.

~Anne Bach