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notes lodged inside a second-hand
instrument stripping his sound of all
vibrato he left behind like school
to earn a reputation the Victrola
introduced in 1901 to respectable
homes where pianos would be soon
abandoned for shim-sham shimmies
as cane-chopping cotton-picking fads
danced their way across America
the Texas Tommy the Turkey Trot
farmed to kids who couldnât read
but could be taught in the modest
elegance of an outhouse primitive
provocative his duty to reveal
to a world that would call him King
the highest and lowest blowing
so hard the mute flew out of his horn
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Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.