31 days of songpoems

*You know that scene in “Ghost World,” where Enid buys a record from Seymour and takes it home and listens to the song, “Devil Got My Woman,” by Skip James over and over and over?

That was me the first time I heard Geeshie Wiley’s “Last Kind Words.” I heard it in the beginning credits for the movie Crumb, and I was hooked! Went to Tower Records, bought the soundtrack and went home. Some lyrics from it eventually became the title of my memoir, “Let the Buzzards Eat Me Whole.” 

I used to lock myself in my room, leave the song on repeat as I cleaned or cried or slept. A lullaby for the soul. God bless the blues, they are the aspirin and the opium.


a military thud 

plays along with 

my hum—

old memories of death and fun

swing into a fire, 

into a hole dug up

a slouch—

I castigate the traffic 

block its kiss—

I salt my bath, marinade

a tub of secrets, I drink

I soothe my faults with lyrics,

of where to die and whom to blame,

damp hair strikes a vein

a flutter in my scalp turns me into bones

my throat collects the dust of all the things I’ve never spoke

a circling of vultures means death is near

I feel the day ending, a new day reappears