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  • When I get sad I plug in my yellow Telecaster-
    the one you got me for my birthday last year-
    and I strum horrific chords, even though I know all the beautiful ones.
    I turn up the treble and gain to a voluptuous key and hope
    the sound filters through the floor vents--all the way up to the ninth
    where you sit full of horrible guilt and dread over lies you’ve told.
    I hope that the cat starts yowling along to the strum,
    a screech under the tickling of the metal strings,
    as if to tell you that you aren’t that smart after all.
    Tonight when the static of the amp electrifies the walls
    and makes the Mexican neighbors pray to Jesus,
    you are the occasional good lover and nothing more.
    As I strum the chords I hope the bar downtown picks them up
    and plays them through the speakers so you hear and remember
    that last night I said the things to you that you begged me to say.
    I hope that the taxi ride carries you home playing
    a fuzzy radio station that blasts my chords,
    and that in your drunken state the elevator button
    no longer rings, but lulls my somber notes with each passing floor.
    You will see at your door my yellow Telecaster,
    neck disembodied, and realize that tonight your lies
    are the only things saying goodnight to you.
    I hope you sleep under our quilt and, after all becomes quiet,
    when the music has sunken away, I hope
    you don’t hear my last breath through the radiator.
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