POETRY: JOEY NICOLETTI – SOMETHING IN THE WAY

Something In the Way

When I heard the news that Kurt Cobain died
by shooting himself, stacks of bedpans trembled
in my hospital room. Lyrics of saline

dripped in my arms. I saw an image of Kurt’s face,
his scruff blurry on the TV screen. I recalled
a concert I attended months earlier. I went

and saw Nirvana, Kurt’s group. They performed
an acoustic, hoarse rendition of one of my
favorite songs: Something In The Way.

The puncture marks on my arms were almost
almost completely strummed away
with the memory of each chord. I thought

of his music’s rawness; his screams and whispers
expressed how I felt: frustrated
with the world at that time:

love was never free. I studied hard,
just like my parents and professors told me,
only to find that my degree was a weathered shingle

in a job market of aluminum siding.
I unloaded trucks, and Kurt, Dave Grohl,
Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear unloaded

their music. I finally felt
as if someone understood me.
And then Kurt’s suicide. And then
my diagnosis: a condition that would

be with me for the rest of my life,
no matter what medical advances were made
or how it was treated. My pre-procedure meal

of ice chips—no dip—melted
in a metal dish. I thought of the mist
of second hand smoke above the stage,

hands in the air as Nirvana played,
me on a friend’s shoulders, singing along,
in my quiet, raspy voice. Before the nurse gave me

my final shot for the day, she explained
what the doctors had in store for me
to my father. I stared at the TV in disbelief.

My father changed the channel. We watched
a documentary about Jupiter, its Great Red Spot
a storm. Lightning crashed in its atmosphere:

my thoughts swept up in its off-key, cloudy air,
no sign of solid ground anywhere.

 

Check out Joey Nicoletti’s blog.

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