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!


I’m Taking Requests: A Month of Poems Based on Songs

After a recent flurry of submissions, which resulted in poems forthcoming here, here, and here (but still no chapbook), I’ve decided I need to have another month where all I do is write. Theme months were fun in January (persona poems mainly about fracking) and March (knotty thoughts about religion), so I thought I’d try another one for September.

The most recent poem I posted here included a line from Alice Cooper. Fellow poet blogger John Allen Richter suggested I listen to more Alice Cooper, or some Jimi Hendrix. I’m taking him up on that and will expand the idea from there: I’ll spend all of September writing poems based on particular songs.

Some, I might have some associations with already. Others might have certain lyrics that might spark something. For others, it might be the sound or the overall feeling that generates the idea. But each day, I’ll write a poem that is based in some way on a song.

Also, I’m taking requests.

In the comments, please name one song you’d like me to write about. This one and this one have already been requested, but other than that, I’m open to any song, any style. It just has to be a specific artist and/or song, and fairly readily available. I’ll write them in the order I get them, and I won’t turn any down until I reach a yet-to-be-determined cut-off point (maybe 60 maximum).

I’m not going to post the entire month’s worth, but I’ll blog each Tuesday as usual. If you would like to see the whole series or your song’s poem in particular, let me know and we’ll work something out. (I’m trying to avoid “previously publishing” all of them here, lest any of them turn out to be submittably good.) 

So … The request line is now open!