Personal ambition: Have my own style of music. See my mother again.—Jimi Hendrix, in a survey for the UK publication New Musical Express
A psychedelic voodoo priest sacrificing still-humming heartstrings on a pyre demanding god fire like that burns too bright too fast never lasts except in memory Can you see your mother? So young she was and you splintered like your guitar chasing fire burning your throat like a scream shot memory The memorial—your father gave a shot of whiskey said this is how men deal men burn down ashes to ashes are all ash and hurt Your father like my father said I guess you justa child can’t let go of what’s pastI don’t owe you Listen heart crackle fire sparks on train tracks rushing Mama’s body cold barely four months and he thinks to marry This is how men deal You learned too well pour another round turn ashes to smoke forget this cold inheritance
Jenny Qi is a writer, scientist and co-founder of the storytelling podcast Bone Lab Radio. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Huffington Post. Her poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Rattle, Off the Coast, and Spry, and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is currently based in San Francisco.
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