When I Am Still in Graduate School, the Editor of a Fancy Literary Magazine Tells Me My Poems Sound Like Bad Country Music

Sir, I don’t say, what did your mother listen to while vacuuming the dining room if not, Here’s your one chance, Fancy? How did your father do his bar squats in the basement if not to guitars, Cadillacs . . . lonely, lonely streets that I call home? When Jordan Victor breaks up with me in my first apartment, stalks back to where his car is parked beneath the sparking brakes of the elevated locomotive, he does not retrieve a Rachmaninoff mix from the glove compartment, drive halfway to the tollway, realize he forgot the crucifix his mother gave him on the bedside table, return to find me drinking Chateau Cheval Blanc on the couch. No, he comes back as the river runs, and I am inside, warm as the morning sun, where I begin reading from his emails: Please remember me, just like the waves down by the shore. When we lie back down in the bed I dragged home from the St. Vincent, when the downstairs neighbor begins banging on the open air vent, when the police start trying to pry open the bars on the window, tell me what is playing on the radio: A) Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by the Temptations, B) Shake Your Rump by the Beastie Boys, C) All I Ask of You from the Phantom of the Opera, D) The feelin’ good comes easy now since I’ve got the pill.

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