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The Way It Is, and: When My Baby Rocks the Funk, and: The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead
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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

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

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

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.

Copyright © 2014 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
David St. John. "The Way It Is, and: When My Baby Rocks the Funk, and: The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead." Southern Review 50.2 (2014): 324-326. Project MUSE. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
John, D. S.(2014). The Way It Is, and: When My Baby Rocks the Funk, and: The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead. Southern Review 50(2), 324-326. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
David St. John. "The Way It Is, and: When My Baby Rocks the Funk, and: The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead." Southern Review 50, no. 2 (2014): 324-326. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 25, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - The Way It Is, and: When My Baby Rocks the Funk, and: The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead
A1 - David St. John
JF - Southern Review
VL - 50
IS - 2
SP - 324
EP - 326
PY - 2014
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v050/50.2.st-john.html
N1 - Volume 50, Number 2...



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