Memoir Mixtapes Vol.1 / Track 31

On “Cuyahoga” by R.E.M. by Rory Porter

Cuyahoga! You say, and I agree.
Mick Mills, teach me how to be.

Cuyahoga! You sing, to me alone.
A step, a half-step, a semi-tone.

I’m not a musician,
I wouldn’t know,
But please Mick Mills
Teach me how to grow.

Your basslines, a system of levers and pulleys,
A perfectly working Ottoman compass,
Your back-ups a butterscotch flavouring sachet
A baklava thumbprint on a dead sea scroll.

How do you care that no one knows?
Michael danced in the clearing, you worked in the shadow
You let him have the name that belonged to you both.

But without you there’s nothing
Yet you want no prize,
no trophy, no sum
For lifting the song
Like an olive tree’s branches,
Up with the sun.

No laurels for your harmonies, no ovations for your grooves
Just a life of thankless service to an indie-rock tune.

I dream of what you do now the band is done.

Among the pomegranates in the Caliph’s palace
that’s now a tea room,
that’s where I see you.

Waiting tables
Being patient
Giving directions
Refusing all the vulgar tips.
Laying down an ascending scale in E
And letting the lizards and crickets sing the lead.

Mick Mills, you showed me how to be.

About the Author:

Rory Porter was born in Felixstowe, Suffolk and lives in Andalucia. He listens to mainly Jamaican music and eats mainly Indian food. His Christian socialism, vegetarianism and insatiable desire to watch football make relationships with others all but impossible. He sometimes puts stuff up on his blog at

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