“The Mozart Effect” by T.J. McGuire

T.J. McGuire


Did Mozart know he was writing
music that will make you smarter?
Or how studies would claim
just being within earshot
of “Two Pianos in D Major”
is equal to reading two volumes
of standard encyclopedias?
That one can measure
improved cognitive abilities
with the passing of measures
is truly immeasurable.
And here I am in the Wendy’s drive-thru
as the classical station plays one of Wolfgang’s
most famous concertos.
It’s an instantly recognizable piece,
flashy, dance-like movement
both forceful and elegant.
It hits me with a jolt—the long dead
circuitry of my brain’s main breaker,
the entire housing unit
of misfired synapses
finally fit with newer fuses
like a rebooted powerhouse.
I feel the points of my IQ rising.
A grand swell of violins
hands me an honorary degree
that was signed by a wonderful wizard.
I, brainless scarecrow,
am now able to square the hypotenuse
of a right triangle
that is equal to the sum
of the remaining sides.
Suddenly a quadruple
two thousand calorie cheeseburger
combo meal with upsized fries
no longer seems intelligent.
I swerve smartly out of line
with some kind of kale
meets plant-based chicken salad in mind.
Kale to the yes!
I yell this as I pull away
to begin a new life with farm-fresh genius—
except that the host
of this classical broadcast
which has recently enlightened me
just revealed that I was listening
to that beef-witted Beethoven.
So never mind.

from Rattle #75, Spring 2022
Tribute to Librarians


T.J. McGuire: “Shaped by my environment, I feel that being surrounded by literature and real-life characters with stories, staff and patrons alike, has been the key to my progress through poetry over the years. Although retired now from the Dayton Metro Library in southwest Ohio, what resonates is the power listening had awarded me, the availability of riches through people who needed to talk.”

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