Tag Archives: music

Melissa Quits School

Melissa understands that no one really has her back and that she ultimately has to make her own decisions. She starts here by stating her truths and strengthening her voice. She already has a place where feels free. I think she’s a survivor.

Melissa Quits School                                                             Lucile Burt


I’m not going down into that cave anymore,

that room under everything

where they stick us freaks

surrounded by storage rooms

and one hundred years of dust

caking little windows near the ceiling.


We’re buried under the weight

of all those rooms above us,

regular rooms with regular kids,

buried where we won’t be a bad influence.


Mrs. Miller says I’ll be sorry,

but I don’t care. I can’t think

down there. It’s hard to breathe


If school’s so great for my future,

what’s Mrs. Miller doing buried here

like some sad dead bird

teaching freaks

and smelling like booze every morning?


I may be stupid, but I know this:

outside there’ll be light and air

and I won’t feel like I’m dying.

Outside, someone will pay when I work,

give me a coffee break when I can smoke.

No one will say “where’s your pass?”

Sandy and Tina won’t dance away from me,

sidestepping like I’m poison ivy,

and boys won’t try to pry me open.

Steve won’t be hanging on me,

wanting me

to take a couple of hits before class,

wanting me

to cut class to make love,

even though it’s really screwing

and he calls it “making love”

so I’ll do it and he can brag later.


I may be stupid, but I know this:

even just a little light and air

can save your life.

That shark Steve thinks he owns me,

but I know this:

when we cruise in his car

so he can show off his Chevy and me

him looking out the window all the time,

going nowhere, just cruising,

I’m there ’cause we’re moving.

I’m there alone with Tori Amos,

singing her sad true songs,

leaning my head back,

watching the streetlights come and go,

each flash lighting my face

for a minute in the dark.




Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett

This is a poem that evoked different conversations in each of my writing classes.  I chose it for the third stanza where Mustang Sally speaks to Marta the poet.  What do you think? Who are the different voices in the poem?

Does the song evoke anything from your life per the artists:  Aretha Franklin, Sir Mack Rice, or Wilson Pickett?  What about appropriation?  Are you sensitive to it?  From which view?

Or just enjoy the poem, it’s wonderful. Don’t miss a word of it.

Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett                                           Marta Boswell

Aretha Franklin named me.

She heard Sir Mack Rice stir into

a Blue Rock records track he called

Mustang Mama until she told him

Sally sounded better when he wailed.


Mom says the winter I was born,

well, before that, I kicked

every time it hit the radio.

Says that’s how she knew my name.

Not that the birth certificate says

Mustang, but all the same, that’s me.


Yeah, I know. Little white girl

With a name like mine, somebody’s

gonna bitch about appropriation,

that hitch, one bunch of us

snitching something from another,

busting it to fit an awkward hole

in what we’ve got. That’s anyway,

what Marta thought last time we talked.


What I’m thinking’s mostly

that I ought to say thank you

and give credit where it’s due.

Sir Mack Rice? Pickett’s mentor.

Recorded it in sixty-four.


See, even Wilson got it secondhand

from somebody who knew better.