That One Time at the Taylor Swift Fever Concert
Fever concerts. You have seen the advertisement. Drenched and bathed in flickering candlelight calling up the ghost of her memory. She was supposed to be the one sitting beside me. Her short hair masking the natural curls. The rosy glow of her pointed chin. A painting, she could have been in another century. Fever concerts. Always in a secreted location. Are the tickets to a concert or are you purchasing a meeting with Vito Carleone? You don't know for sure. But you highly suspect for the price that you are on your way to making a deal in the backroom of a spaghetti warehouse.The checkered tablecloth. The basket of bread sticks. The flask of red wine. Or it could be an Olive Garden. Again, you are not sure of much these days. Fever concerts. In reality, when you arrive at the venue, it is worse than you could have imagined. The secret location is a converted wedding chapel. Low budget kind. How are you supposed to get over losing her in a rented out wedding chapel? It is rhetorical. As most of your life questions are. Fever concerts. To take your mind off of where you are, you try to imagine a group of chubby drunken Elvis impersonators taking the stage and licking and smacking their greasy peanut butter and banana fried pork chop sandwich lips as they sing "Love Me Tender." After all, by nine the building has to be cleared out for the drag show that begins. But you are not here for the drag. You are here for the Fever concert of a classically trained quartet playing renditions of Taylor Swift songs. It is true. You know you can't make this shit up. Fever concerts. But there you are. Alone. And you hate to admit it to yourself but you are mesmerized. You never knew a cello could pound out between a few strings, "No Deal. This 1950's shit they want from me." Fever concerts. You almost melt with the wax that is dripping off the pale orange candles surrounding the overly draped in red crushed velvet stage as the violinist's arms flutter about in quickened, hastened motions. If you stare at the scene long and hard enough it might be that scene in the Titanic as the violins play as the ship prepares to sink. Yes, this is your sinking. This is your Taylor Swift Titanic moment. Fever concerts. You feel like a chump. There is no way around it. You purchased tickets to your very own swan song concert where Taylor Swift has been converted from pop Nashville trash art to the high classical period. You bought the tickets to your own break-up party. What the fuck? Who would do such a thing, knowingly? Probably you, you did. You know you did. Fever concerts. There is nothing. I mean. Nothing. More. Melodramatic. Setting your own heartbreak to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift played by a classical quartet. The mind wanders and agrees, "Yes, Taylor, it is true. It is so very true. I am the problem. It is me. It is me. And everyone at tea time really does agree." Fever concerts. You are not even heartbroken. You just wish it hadn’t ended that way. Or ended at all. You just wish you had kept your own greasy peanut butter and banana fried pork chop sandwich mouth shut and feelings to yourself, but Taylor Swift never did it that way. So why should you? Fever concerts. It is the anti-catharsis for the anti-hero. You are your own anti-hero sitting in the midst of the most anti-cathartic experience your credit card debt could afford. "The women come and go, speaking of Michelangelo." That was the original TS. Eliot, TS. Not TS, Taylor Swift. Like Bond, James Bond. Swift, like Oh My God, valley girl. Fever concerts. You are more Prufrock anyway. Stop being so hard on yourself. You rolled up your pants legs. You waded into the water with the sirens and mermaids. You dared to eat the peach. It is not your fault she mistook you for an urchin. Fever concerts. She knew all the hidden Easter Eggs in every Taylor Swift song, every allusion, every reference, every album, which lover meets which line. But all you knew was how to shake, shake, shake, SHAKE. Shake. Shake. Shake. What she doesn't know is you are a Holy Roller and a polar bear Totem animal all wrapped up into one being. All musk and spirit, no bullshit. Fever concerts. You are more Gillian Welch and half billy goat then you are Beethoven and gray goose. Fever concerts. What existential crisis made you succumb that night in the rain to believe you could be so careless with your own heart as to swim in a sea of text messages where she told you, "I think you want it more than I do." Fever concerts. Did I want it more? What did I want? Sometimes I think Taylor Swift is more Shakespeare's Puck scandalously skipping around untying all the knots of a Midsummer's Spring's Eve, or perhaps more Cyrano de Bergerac standing off to the side in the weeds of warfare writing the letters we cannot think of on our own to write, singing to us the verses we dare not sing, silencing our soft-bellied guilt, making us more gullible and less sure of ourselves than we were before. Fever concerts. Taylor Swift talking about cardigans once said these wise words, “I knew you would come back to me.” I would ask her to. I want her to. But, I don’t think she will. Taylor Swift had lamp light. I only have candlelight. Fever concerts. Next time, Lady Gaga. And then I can “Dance, dance, dance.” Bio: Paula Hayes is a poet who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, the same place where rock and roll was birthed and where the ghost of Elvis still hangs around Beale Street. She finds the presence of such a rich musical history in the town she lives in to be right on track with transforming one as a poet into a bard.
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