Rhythm Blues

Rhythm Blues
by Madeline Levine
Stoop sitting again
And I gotta get going
Gotta get myself gone
I wrung my old self out
And hung her up to dry
Resolutely waved goodbye
—and I—
Try to walk it off.
Been gorging on guilt
Prodded and poked by these
Pin cushion lies:
Transparent? Or invisible?
Please turn off the lights.
When the house clears out
I’ll sing myself stories
Of people
Full yet fractal
Playing that damn waiting game
With no direction in mind
They whisper to me
“find your cadence”
“leave yourself alone so you
can get something done”
But they’re just tripping me up.
So I shut the door behind me
Try to walk it off.
Fumbling through figure-eights
Back where I started
And around once again
With headphones in
Marching to that synthetic meter
Seeing strangers smile—
I exhale a ghost of “hi”
—and I—
Try to walk it off.

0 thoughts on “Rhythm Blues

  1. Cool. I can hear it as spoken word, with the rhythm of cadence. Good imagery: “I wrung my old self out and hung her up to dry,” “prodded and poked by these pin cushion lies,” “people full yet fractal,” “I exhale a ghost of ‘hi’.” It captures the insularity that comes with headphones “fumbling through figure-eights” back where one started, which seems to take one nowhere–as people who ‘know’ her admonish–but from her point of view is taking her further inwards, I would think, to deeper self-understanding. The poet is definitely singing the blues, “gorging on guilt” from the lies and pain inflicted on her by others, and trying just “to walk it off,” but, hey, what better way to do that than to sing yourself stories that define yourself against those who have fabricated that old self you’ve wrung and hung up to dry.

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