Leiber and Stoller Experience the 1960s as Heraclitean Flux

By Benjamin Goluboff

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The ‘sixties went by in a blur for Jerry and Mike,
remembered in fragments, bright and discontinuous.

Phil Spector shadowing them in the studio,
his head swiveling like a bird of prey.

The Dixie Cups, Jewish Valkyries, setting up
harmonies that made Mike’s scalp cringe.

Hearing in ’64 The Beatles’ version of “Kansas City,”
knowing then something of the curve and contour of time.

Jerry at dinner with Motherwell and DeKooning.
Jerry wrestling with Mailer by the bar at Elaine’s.

Mike at the Village Gate hearing Stan Getz
blow long and long into the coming dark.

The stone-faced Customs man at Heathrow
who liked to say: “If you’re Stoller, where’s Leiber?”

These were not, like the fifties, the time of their time:
the days in diminuendo, a falling away.

It was in these uncertain years that the boys bought copyrights,
a hefty portfolio, in the songs of other writers.

– Benjamin Goluboff