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July 06, 2009


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I first heard Louie Prima when I was a little girl, singing "I Want to Be Like You" in Disney's "The Jungle Book."

I wrote this poem awhile back. It had been posted on the Louis Prima web site, but then removed:

Prescription for Preventing Suicide

Ken O’Connor would not have cancelled
his widower’s, windowless life
with his virgin police pistol
had he put Louis Prima’s best
on continuous play.

You let the pizzicato seep into you,
let voice and horn rollick with
those taut strings in your head
that itch to pull the trigger.
It’s “Night and Day” that brightens the eye,
“Lazy Mary” that makes you get up,
“Jump, Jive and Wail” that stops the wallows.
Louis the Lip, he’s under your skin, crooning
“You’ve got the world on a string,”
and telling you to never let go,
no matter how sad the song.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Shop Indie Bookstores

This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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