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« The Assemblage of Poems [by A. Van Jordan] | Main | ERRATA: [by A. Van Jordan] »

August 23, 2013


When I started writing poetry in the 1980s, I read numerous books about blues lyrics. I always felt song lyrics are poetry, and wrote many of my own. I hitchhiked Seattle to Miami in the 1990s, playing guitar, improvising folk songs as I stood on the street.

Inspired by your article, today I wrote this song, using a variation of the blues form.

I Will Live My Life
Surazeus 2013 08 23

My daughter rode the yellow bus to school.
Her boyfriend grabbed her, demanding a kiss.
She pushed him away and walked to math class.
He moped about, wailing, "You broke my heart."

My daughter walked with her friends down the hall.
Her boyfriend pointed a gun at her heart.
He shouted, "I will never let you go.
You are my girlfriend, but you broke my heart."

My daughter stood her ground, facing his gun.
"I am not your possession, nor your toy.
My body belongs to no one but me.
I will live my life because I am free."

My daughter felt his bullet pierce her heart.
My sweet daughter lay bleeding on the floor.
"My body belongs to no one but me.
I will live my life because I am free."

My daughter sleeps forever by a tree.
Little flowers bloom from her broken heart.
"My body belongs to no one but me.
I will live my life because I am free."

Thank you for your insightful, intelligent essays and for providing resources for future study. I never consciously thought about experimentation, improvisation and transcendence in the same breath.

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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

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