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Music is the Elixir of Life

I was seventeen when I first heard her voice.
The voice of an angel.
To this day her Art Rock songs persist as my favorites.
In the nineteen eightees
I went away to college.
Her band band released a few things I didnt like
Then went on hiatus.
I caught one of their last Boston shows.
Still the voice of an angel.
My tastes evolved and branched out.
Music was growing inside me.
I promised myself I'd join a band and sing.
But the promise remained unkept
Until the tender young age of forty three.
A decade after that,
Googling on a whim,
I found her again.
A breast cancer surviver.
As is my mom.
New music.
The rebirth of the old band.
Touring again, but always inconveniently far away.
I bought the new albums.
The voice, the spark, was there!
The relentless ravages of time
Eventually take their toll.
As a gay boy of the eightees
I saw the peculiar time warp of AIDS
Catapult friends in their twenties
Into geriatrics and sudden death.
Things have settled down
But I'm now of an age where
Friends and family reach old age.
I witness the withering
The bit by bit failing of old age.
I'm hypersensitive to it.
When I bought Annie's 2011 live album,
Her voice was different.
Perhaps she was experimenting.
Perhaps they settled
For less than perfect performace.
I became afraid.
Had old age taken her voice?
At long last she toured
In a town reasonably close by.
With trepidation I went.
What joy I felt
When she brought forth those perfect tones.
The voice of an angel.
I watched
As she became the music.
As it sometimes happens to me.
The years fell away
And I realized
Music is the elixir of life.

4 March 2015

by Bill Cattey