Blues in Half-Tones, 3/4 Time

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo at Phonodia LAB in Venice, Italy, on the 18th of April, 2014.

Read by Rita Dove on 18 April 2014

Blues in Half-Tones, 3/4 Time

From nothing comes nothing,
don't you know that by now?
Not a thing for you, sweet thing,
not a wing nor a prayer,
though you got half
by birthright,
itching under the skin.

(There's a typo somewhere.)
Buck 'n' wing,
common prayer–
which way do you run?
The oaken bucket's
all busted
and the water's all gone.

I'm not for sale because I'm free.
(So they say. They say
the play's the thing, too,
but we know that don't play.)
Everyone's a ticket
or a stub, so it might as well
cost you, my dear.

But are you sure you lost it?
Did you check the back seat?
With a bitch. Gee, that sucks.
Well, you know what they say.
What's gone's gone.
No use crying.
(There's a moral, somewhere.)

from American Smooth (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., © 2004 by Rita Dove). All rights reserved. Copying to other websites or any kind of reprint is a violation of international copyright laws and strictly forbidden.

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