Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Everything Happens to Me

His voice warps a little, old hi-fi disc
wobbling on its tentpole axis;

the fact he no longer has teeth
broadcasting in every held syllable:

Billie’s heartbreak boiled down
to shit luck and a whole carton of cigs

pressed through a grinder
to make a kind of soup out of smoke.

The song already resides in
the territory of sadsack and o

woe is me, but this late hour
version of Chet drenches the rag

in dishwater and squeezes it out
on the gummed floor of melody.

You can almost hear him spitting
his teeth out, beat up

from drug deal gone wrong. That
you know how he used to sing

and how he used to look
in all the old photos, pretty boy

skylark, only enhances the smirk
behind his straight face: I’m just a fool

who never looks before he jumps.
The voice flutters the song to a close

then drops out the window.
You peer down the alley

but there’s nothing there
but the sludge line of a garbage truck.  

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