A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

The Song You Never Wrote by Julie Weiss

The Song You Never Wrote

       for Prince

would start with a strum, light

as a breeze trembling across our bare

 

stomachs, arousing our spirit minds.

No verse, just soft petals of music

 

whirling through space & time

in the glittery purple universe you´d conjure

 

through a twirl of strings. We´d sway

on the tips of our feet, & as the rhythm

 

fired up, break into a dance craze

that would stir even the deepest sleepers.

 

Then, a declaration in the form of a riff,

an impossible combination of chords,

 

your gaze a field in the burning colors

of dawn, your fingers flaming across the strings,

 

saying to the perpetrators of hate:

wake the funk up, change is going to blaze

 

in your face. “Minneapolis!” you´d shout,

your voice wailing under history´s brutal

 

knee, your ancestors clambering up

the molten rock of your song, gathering

 

behind you like warriors, their murderers

lurching onto the battlefield, rapacious,

 

& you poised to match them voice

for rope, dance for gasoline. Love for pain.

 

You´d strike piano keys as though marching

up & down the streets of your youth,

 

your fist a ball of fire igniting society.

“No more bloodshed!” you´d sing amidst

 

a flurry of footwork, notes of unity quavering

like dove wings. We´d follow you

 

anywhere, into the tear gas, the pepper spray,

through a rage of bullets flashing names

 

that shouldn´t have been laid to rest.

We´d get down as you shook

 

racism out of the century

like ashes out of an old, burnt rug,

 

as you drummed a new world beat

on officers´ riot shields until they dropped

 

into a split, rolled their hips,

everyone across the globe chanting:

 

Why knock me down & choke the life out of me?

Come 2 my party & then you´ll C.

Better 2 make love, peace, & harmony.

Nobody is free until we all can breathe.

Julie Weiss

Julie Weiss (she/her) is the author of The Places We Empty, her debut chapbook published by Kelsay Books. She was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s First Line Poetry Series, a finalist for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award, and she was shortlisted for Kissing Dynamite´s 2021 Microchap Series. A Pushcart Prize and two-time Best of the Net nominee, her work appears in Perhappened, The Lumiere Review, Sky Island Journal, and others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children.

 

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