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Orpheus Breaks-Up the Band

Peter Shippy

My minders take me for rides. The guitarist
gets tight with dramatists. My face resembles
a collage of torn photographs. Each day
I wake to new moon-faced girls, laid out
like pizza boxes on my hotel room’s floor.
The bass player wants to switch to sitar—
she wants us to board the ragatón train.
What is it they teach you at Songwriting School:
say autumn not fall. The drummer majors
in punch-ups with the paparazzi. He swags
all night in maenad clubs. Tell don’t show.
My management team’s makoing deals.
They’ve signed me to sigh out for cell phones,
gyros and Chinese cigarettes (shh, they say—
no one will hear those adverts here). Have you read
what the kids are typing in the blogosphere?
They act as if I bit Eury on the ass.
Like I hired Aristaeus to mug her?
Like I placed my snake in the woods, just so?
Please. One minute my beautiful wife
was gathering flowers (as the poets do
not as they say) the next minute she’s dead.
The fanatics once were on my side—
what went wrong? Didn’t they understand
the refrain in “You’re the Iliad
in My Odyssey”? Here, let me sing:

       When you’re in hell
       I’m in bliss
       which is Hell
       in old Thrace

Nice, huh? And I meant every word, too. Sure
we had our ups and downs. But in the end
Eurydice was the only one who believed
that I was a true artist. She didn’t laugh
when I said I wanted to write librettos.
So, I’m going to the underworld
to bring her back. Don’t snicker, no
there are ways, if you have means—if you know
the right hands to grease. Plus—and don’t read me
wrong—I think this might make a nice song—
maybe a Broadway show? But first, I need
to see a deathly man about a ferry!
Always subvert the ordinary
with adverbs and exclamation points.

Peter Shippy

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