Sing lead

even badly, lest
you be relegated to
backup — partial thoughts,
repetitive fragments —

behind stars and perpetually
reaching for lyrics
(going back to find),
words you might have sung,

not another’s chorus
(leaving on the midnight train),
but the singular verses
of your one life that

might make a melody:
full-throated, headstrong,

Embarrass yourself boldly.
(Woo, woo, woo-woo).
Your lungs are
not forever.

Sing lead.
(Dreams don’t always come true. Uh-uh. No. Uh-uh).
Still, sing lead.
(I know you will).

With a bow to Jim Weatherly, who wrote Midnight Train to Georgia, and Tony Camillo, who arranged the song for Gladys Knight & the Pips. 





  1. Lots to ponder in this poem. Here’s to our wisdom in choosing at least some of the melodies setting our moods.


    1. And, here’s to dancing alone in the living room! 🙂


  2. Sending a hug your way. Happy New Years, Cate. I hope there are more ups than downs. (Now playing Midnight Train. 🙂 ) -Russ


    1. Thanks, Russ! Wishing you a Happy New Year, too. I remember we were all thinking a year ago that 2021 was going to be better. Maybe a wiser wish this year is that we have more variety in our challenges, and more insight, creativity and perspective in meeting them.

      I appreciate you, Friend.


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