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Signing the Wall at Abbey Road (a Sestina)
They told me the studio was Abbey Road, where the Beatles
Had recorded the songs that made history
across the universe. In front of it was the wall,
plastered with what must have been half a million signatures
In red, black, blue, thick, thin, firm, quivering ink,
Some contemplative, some vulgar, some simply initials or names.
I didn't know them, really, just their names.
I could give you perhaps five or six songs by the Beatles
and hum maybe three or four. Yet I fumbled for a source of ink
So that this gate, this piece of accessible history
could bear, among the others, my signature.
What appealed to me, you see, was not the music, but the wall.
My lack of musical knowledge was, to me, a wall
That kept me excluded from a movement too great to name.
I imagined I would someday grow to know and love their signature
style. I would regret not signing what so strongly represented a part of the Beatles.
Leap from a cliff in despair and I would be history.
My future satisfaction and well-being were insured in that ink.
I carefully wrote 'Hanna: 4-5-08' in heavy black ink,
on a visible, previously untouched section of the wall.
I hoped it might stand out, make its own history within the history,
Not simply drown among the swarms of faceless names.
I dreamed that because of this, a surviving Beatle
himself may know of my existence by stumbling upon my signature.
I wanted it to stand out, myself represented by that signature.
It rose above but still belonged to every other bit of ink.
A celebrity, you might say, like the Beatles.
but in truth, it was just another word on a wall.
I'm no superhuman among humans; I have no super-name among names.
It blended into, but did not make, history.
It satisfied me plenty, though, to blend into history.
I thought of John Hancock's flashy flourish of a signature
and those like my father's, from which you could barely decipher a name.
Yet all were on the same Declaration, written by hands, and in the same ink.
I was the unnoticed brick that held up the palace wall.
Without buying a record, I made myself the fanbase of the Beatles.
Through the simple act of writing my name, I belong to history.
I am one with the Beatles as long as my signature
remains, until its burial in ink, upon the Abbey Road wall.