In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The Way It Is

Tonight the hungry boys are out looking for all the hungry    girls Delilah says & that’s just the way it is

Just the way it’s always been all those hungry girls all    those hungry boys their naked ribs bright    as vibraphones

Shined by the tracks of somebody’s sweat & as I look back    at those nights claws bared & bloody

I wish I could remember just one thing that tasted even a little    like tenderness & of all the things I wanted

I never once meant to fool you into thinking I was simply    your ordinary guy who just took a wrong turn

Somewhere on those streets dissolving sweet as lightning    along the pitch & ink of summer sky [End Page 324]

When My Baby Rocks the Funk

When my baby rocks the funk & the night shakes its    silky booty I go upstairs

& dig deep into my attic trunks to drag out those zebra    bell-bottoms & snakeskin platform boots

So I can properly call down the vibrating Mothership    & when my baby rocks the funk shaking her    celestial booty I will now confess

I just go all kinds of crazy in my junk & as Bootsy struts    his starry bass lines all through P-Funk

My old life as a CBGB punk seems so completely defunct    & I’m just happy I’m still the one who’s    taking home the booty

Those nights my baby rocks the funk [End Page 325]

The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead

The one who should write my elegy is dead

When we made that bet he said most likely    I’d be the loser writing his elegy instead

Nothing is as beautiful as nothing he once said    so hip just chain-smoking Camels or

Riding his shaky Triumph up Van Ness & the one    who should write my elegy is dead

I guess I always knew I’d have to write my own    elegy for him instead

Rimbaud on a tractor Anna says or Jagger pirouetting    through the ranch’s drying shed

The one who should write my elegy is dead    so I won’t rehearse again those

Hungers that we fed or expose both the cruelties    & those we shared

I’ll simply try again to finish writing this last elegy    instead of looking back & tonight

My daughter Vivienne’s off with friends & Anna’s    reading of all things Winter Stars in bed

& the one who should write my elegy is dead & I’m    the one the loser left here just as

He said I’d be left here writing his elegy instead [End Page 326]

David St. John

David St. John is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Study for the World’s Body, a finalist for the National Book Award, and his most recent collection, The Auroras. He is also the coeditor of American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. He teaches in the PhD Program in Creative Writing & Literature at the University of Southern California and lives in Venice Beach.



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