white moonlight, broken glass windowpanes
and stained glass skin—mommy listen
listen when I tell you
he has a temper, he has quite
This is the part of the song where I would interject
a slow, droning bass line, no percussion
breathe heavy into the microphone, hands
wrapped tight around the microphone as though
it was somehow holding me upright, eyes closed
as though I was about to say something really important.
The audience would lean forward in their chairs, the teenaged girl
at home listening on her pink headphones would hold her own breath
close her eyes, just like me, anxious to hear what I was about to say.
razor-sharp porcelain fragments on
bloodstained linoleum, purple skin fading
to dark red, under ice—oh mommy listen
listen to me when I tell you
I have to get out of here, I have to
If this was the live version, the song would just end after a few minutes
of solid guitar refrain. The drummer might stop completely
so that audience would know that it was time to clap wildly in appreciation.
Ideally, the applause would rise up just in time
to muffle the staggering end of the song, mimic the measured fade
of the studio version. On a bad day
the band would just stop playing, leaving me with nothing but dead silence
in the short minutes before the next song started up.
Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, also known as “The
Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently
live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches at
the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include
Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for
Dummies, and Guitar All-in-One for Dummies.