Sometimes the organ does a number on my head.
It flips it upside down and makes the world flat for a second.
I like to imagine a flat earth.
You drive to San Francisco or Japan in your little electric Honda
and then you fly off into space. All those planets—Jupiter and Saturn—
that could slaughter you in an instant but are so beautiful.
The most beautiful moment of The Beatles documentary Get Back
is Billy Preston.
On his organ. On “Don’t Let Me Down.”
He’s all joy, doesn’t care about the money, lets his smile and fingers light up a planet.
When he played The Hammond, my head went cuckoo.
I’ve heard that song 5 million times and every time his part comes in
my mind goes cuckoo-berserk
and the earth is flat.
I drive in my little Honda Prius and when I get to Brooklyn, I open my window and scream,
“Here we go,”
and then we’re off into space, right off the Verrazano,
the millions and billions and trillions of gallons of sea water
cascading into space with me.
Herbie Hancock’s “Textures” is on the stereo, and everything is textures
and my mind is a disco ball.
All the stars bouncing off my rearview mirror
and it’s good the earth has people like Billy Preston,
even if it is round.
All that g-flat major into a-minor joy
that flips the spirit.
We all need our spirit flipped, every day, in hopes
that we can get back
to somewhere we’ve never been
and friend, it ain’t ever been about the money.
Matthew Lippman’s collection Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful (2020) is published by Four Way Books. It was the recipient of the 2018 Levis Prize. His next collection, We Are All Sleeping With Our Sneakers On, will be published by Four Way Books in 2024.