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Prince

'This Thing Called Life'

Poetry Inspired by the
Music and Spirit of Prince

Prince Rogers Nelson
1958-2016

 

Geoffrey Himes
Poem

About the Poet

Geoffrey Himes has been a music critic for The Washington Post, Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Downbeat and other publications since 1977.

His poetry has appeared on Pacifica Radio's "The Poet and the Poem" as well as in magazines such as December and the Baltimore City Paper.

He is the performing host of the monthly Roots Café Singer-Songwriter Series in Baltimore.

"Born in the USA," his book on Bruce Springsteen, was published in 2005.

 


Spring 2017 »

PRINCE
by Geoffrey Himes

 

He came from Minne-fuckin’-apolis,
the land of ice fishing and snow sculpture,
at the northern edge of the nation.
And that truth came to mean more
than the fictions he invented:
that he was part-white and part-female,
more than the genetic genius
he inherited from his frustrated father.
For it soon became clear that
he was the Elvis of the eighties,
not despite his hometown,
but because of it. Who knew
they even had funk up there?

No one had ever made it
playing funk in Minnesota,
so there was no trend to chase,
no hits to copy, no template to follow,
so one could hole up in Andre’s basement
and make it up from scratch:
splinter-ice guitar solos,
celluloid synthesizers,
bubble-popping bass notes,
dog-whistle falsetto,
giggle-filled tenor,
sex without Baptist shame.

Even more bizarre than coming
from Minne-fuckin’-apolis was
remaining there once famous.
When the prince became king,
he enjoyed a long purple reign
at his palace in Chanhassen,
an ebony elf scampering across
Minnesota's ivory landscape.

And all the actors and musicians
who had left their provincial hometowns
to be poor and lonely in New York,
Los Angeles or London, hated him
for exposing their sacrifice as
unnecessary or, worse, counterproductive.
But we who had resisted the good advice
and had stayed put in Denver, Pittsburgh,
Milwaukee, Manchester or Baltimore,
loved him for it and found
basements of our own to bang out
stories unprecedented and unexpected.

 

 

 

Geoffrey Himes ~

 

 

 

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