Layla

Mark Jackley‘s most recent book of poems is On the Edge of a Very Small Town. His work has appeared in Sugar House Review, Fifth Wednesday, Talking River, Timberline Review, and other journals. He lives in Purcellville, VA.


Layla

Eric Clapton heard Jim Gordon beautifully messing around
on the piano and found the coda he didn’t know his song
of unrequited love was missing, a story I had heard
many times though Wikipedia tells me Layla has
its roots in a Persian love poem that touched a purple nerve
in the man who fell in love with his friend George Harrison’s wife
and I’d also never heard that Gordon later killed his mother
in a psychotic fit—you could go on and on
about the heartache rippling from this staple of air guitar,
Duane Allman, for example, who dreamed the opening lick
and died in a motorcycle crash a couple of years later
or the horrifying death of Clapton’s toddler son
who plummeted from a high-rise window or my mother at
eighty-seven telling us out of the blue the night
we scattered my father’s ashes on the beach how much she loves
Layla when they play it on her oldies station and
if the song’s not over when she parks her car she sits
and listens until she hears the final bird-song notes
“not on the instrument” producer Tom Dowd said

One thought on “Layla

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