This Poem Wants to Be a Pop Song

Jessica Lohafer

so bad. It’s anxious, still stuck at number twenty seven
on your top twenty college countdown, and it’s pretty sure,
that you’d love it, if you gave it a real chance. Thinks you

should play it loud like frosted tips and midriffs,
like driving with your windows down, racing
the back county roads with a boy you’re hoping will

have two hands up your shirt before curfew. This poem
wants your joy to be pink, neon, the inconsolable color
of chewing gum cut out of your little sister’s hair,

how she howled at that bowl cut like a queen rejected
from her home. This poem wants a home however hard
that may be, and a quick corner of fame before

its lines fall flat and sour. It’s been known to get
hung up on popularity contests and trash TV, worried
at its waist measurements and wondering whether it’s time

to cut down on drinking. This poem always means to
cut down on drinking, wants to lay itself out like a listicle,
serving up platitudes for every twenty four year old college grad

who talks of tenure like it's a myth made up by old white men.
The poem is indifferent to the attention of old white men, prefers
teeny boppers and tidal waves, the company of shrill screams

and sweat, its stanzas filling stadiums and setting fire
to adolescence. But, if that’s too much to ask, this poem
will settle for a more wholesome hit on your Christian

aunt’s favorite gym playlist, inspiring ambitious
women everywhere to run just a little bit longer,
this poem wants to run just a little bit longer. But, instead,

it idles like a spinning top. Breathless, useless, back cover
of the magazine. Ready for its big break, patient, 
on the sidelines of someone else’s show.



Jessica Lohafer's work has appeared in Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women, The Noisy Water Review, Your Hands, Your Mouth, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, What’s Left to Be Done, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009. She holds an MFA in poetry from Western Washington University and coordinates the Chuckanut Writer's Conferences. Contact her at

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