Chase Dimock

Karaoke in the Valley

The Pianoman has been drinking.
His voice wanders jelly legged
in and out of the speakers
spitting insistent at the chorus. 

Waiting in queue
you believe you will do better
every affected faux British syllable
of a new wave song rehearsed
for maximum effect.
You'll stop the world and melt
with the indifferent conversations
huddled at the tall tables. 

He waits for the last note,
for you to emerge from behind
the pool table stage.
His arm raised, unsure if its arch
of motion is a hug or handshake.
He tells you he heard that song
his first night in West Hollywood
right off the Greyhound from Omaha
before crowds of mustaches and leather
that would thin over the decade. 

He apologizes for the downer.
You understand, but imagine
his mother sitting circled in corn
still waiting for grandchildren your age.
For a moment, you could be
that grandchild. You think of
singing Mack the Knife next,
combing a stiff part in your hair
and appealing whole milk drinking
to a woman invented
just to recognize your voice.

Chase Dimock is an English Professor by trade and he serves as the Managing Editor of As It Ought To Be in his spare time. His creative work has been published in Waccamaw, Mayday Magazine, Trailer Park Quarterly, and San Pedro River Review. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois and his literary scholarship and criticism have appeared in College Literature, Western American Literature, Modern American Poetry, The Lambda Literary Review, and several edited anthologies.