The Beatles in Five Parts by Corey Mesler

The Beatles in Five Parts

“I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is
to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit.
I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off.
I reply, ‘The Beatles did’.”

-Kurt Vonnegut

1. 1964

The same year
The Beatles were on
Ed Sullivan
Sartre won the Nobel Prize.
I was nine
years old.
I didn’t know the universe
was absurd.
All I knew was that
something momentous had
just happened
because there were angels
on the TV.

2. Beatlemania

“Have you heard the music that no
fingers enter into?”


The Beatles
spun straw into gold,
knew the secret name,
took the pearl
of great substance and
found its source
in the oyster’s meat.
The Beatles
were the last great gasp
of the godhead,
before it became again,
you know, just
another way to the path
of light.

3. Kingmingoarkulluk

He squats in the corner,
one of the children.
The holiday swirls around
us. Someone puts on
a Beatles record, something
from the innocence,
and he leaves his nook.
We all dance. It is the
hour of festivity. One
of the children calls his name—
she says it with ease, grace–
and he nods his head
to the beat, Let me
go on loving you, tonight.

4. Let it Be

Paul and George step
outside for a quick smoke
between verses of
“I Me Mine.”
“Sorry about the godliness,”
Paul says. George looks
out across the macadam
and says, “Ok, Pauly.
Let’s make a record.”
And they go back inside
where the others are
noodling, darkened figures,
still sick with ariose
energy. Still, you know,
for a bit longer, Beatles.

5. The End of the Year of Darkness

Do I dare redress the balance?
Attempt to re-tilt
the axis of this hellbroth year,
with its capharnaum and annihilative
old gooseberries? I’ve lost my
father; the world has lost its way.
The holidays were a
magnifying glass held up to the
blackness. It
magnified the blackness.
And I sit, huddled in bedclothes and
the grippe of depression
swirling through me, watching
the clock move
inexorably on. It moves on without
me, without you,
without half the Beatles. What is
lost is lost. My
wife says it still lives here and she taps
me on the chest where
my heart would be if my heart still worked.
No, it still works.
I redress the balance.
What I create is good. A good.
The world may be a maelstrom and I a small boy.
But in my hand is a sharp knife,
of love.

                – Corey Mesler
                   from Words Dance 4, Spring 2004