Town Shoes (after Jimi Hendrix’s 12 String Blues)

Gonna buy this town
a new pair of town shoes;

then it can walk around
while I take the train.

Gonna take this town apart;
gonna put it in my pocket.

My pocket has a hole in it;
it matches my heart.

Oh, little girl, I’m scared.
I’m scared to do it again,

I’m scared to be on film,
I’m scared to be big—

but now I can’t, no,
I can’t stay small.



This poem kicks off a month in which I’ll write at least one poem a day, and each based on a specific song. I’m not going to post all of them, but I thought I should start things off by sharing this first one. It’s based on a recommendation from John Allen Richter that I listen to Jimi Hendrix for inspiration. I enjoyed this low-key Hendrix song and was struck by how humble he is here, considering that he was a musical genius.

It took me a while to figure out if I was basing the poem on the performance, the artist, the lyrics, or what, and to get over being spooked by the idea that I had to somehow do the song or the artist justice. I think that was first-time jitters, and also, ekphrasis is not my strong suit.

Anyway … John has also suggested this one, which I think will be fun. I am taking requests, if you haven’t already heard. If there’s a song you think I should base a poem on in some way this month, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!


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