National Anthem? “What the Lead Guitars in Hotel California Say and Do Not Say”: Poem by Roy Bentley

Image of Hotel California remagined

Who would believe ultra-rich Hollywood
would slander itself? This dilapidated hotel
has mirrors on the ceilings, pink champagne
effervescing 24/7 in lighted fountains—
all right, it’s California and, by extension,
the republic of sunlight and worn-out souls.
If you listen, what you hear is the vox populi
of Failure. Hear it? You could do worse

than remember the message of some music
is the truth because what it says, in any case,
is We Have Blown It. Which is accurate and
true. And so after “you can check out anytime
you like but you can never leave” breaks off,
that other national anthem, beautiful light,
plays and the wrecked world assumes
an ordinary but recognizable shape.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.


  1. Kathleen S. Burgess says:

    Another gorgeous offering by master poet and truth speaker Roy Bentley.

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