poems in the march shredness tradition: amorak huey

Fifteen Letters to the 56th-Best Rock Song of All Time

(reprinted from Split Lip Magazine)

after Matthew Olzmann


Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: Congratulations on being named the 56th-best rock song of all time. I’m super excited for you! 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: Apparently this happened in 2009; I should have written sooner, but I’ve been busy. Sorry about that.

I guess it’s possible new songs have bumped you down the list, but between you and me, they stopped making truly great rock songs around 1992, so I’m confident you're still in the top 60.



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: Me again. I forgot to mention that I always stick up for you with my friends. Honestly, I never understood how anyone could suggest “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a better song. The guy who says that is one of those Metallica snobs, so don’t worry about it too much. 

I get what they say about “I Saw Red,” though. That one hasn’t aged well. None of the metal ballads have. There’s a lesson there, but I don’t know what it is. 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: Have you read your Wikipedia page? It’s unintentionally hilarious. Whoever wrote it clearly hasn’t spent as much time thinking about sex as you and I have. 



Wait! You’re not one of those people who edit their own Wikipedia page, are you? I have some poet friends who do this. It’s a weird kind of self-promotion, but you don’t seem like you’d be this desperate for attention. Too busy swinging, am I right? 



I have seen where the band has talked a lot of shit about you. This seems really unfuckinggrateful after all you did for them. 



If it’s true that the label made the band write, record, and market you, then the band owes the label a huge thank you. 

Hell, the world owes the label a huge thank you. Sometimes it’s okay to give people exactly what they want. 

Like pie. Or sex. 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: I have been thinking about what you say about most folks not spending enough time swinging because they’re too busy bitching. 

I’m worried that I have become one of those folks. 

Maybe it’s inevitable? That is incredibly sad. 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: I have been thinking about circles. Like, the shape of pie, or a clock that just keeps going around and around. A cherry, sort of, though someone said there are no perfect shapes in nature. What do you think about perfection in general? Surely being the 56th-best rock song in the history of the world gives you some authority to speak on this issue. 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: It occurred to me that maybe you’re disappointed in your ranking, like you were hoping to be top 10 or whatever. Totally understandable, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just a number. Of course, I would give my left arm to be top 56 in anything. I get excited when I’m one of the first 200 voters in my precinct on Election Day.



Okay, maybe not my arm. That’s hyperbole. You see what I mean, though



But like, top 56 of something in the entire history of human civilization on this planet? That’s amazing. 



Dear Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”: I forgot to finish what I was saying about circles. It has something to do with growing older. We’re both getting up there, you and I. 

I’m a dad now, did I tell you that? I’ve introduced you to my son. You’re one of the songs he listens to before every soccer game to get himself pumped up. He’s not old enough to be thinking about all the sex stuff yet, I’m pretty sure (though I’d be the last to know), he just likes the way you sound. 



Isn’t that enough? Like, the sound is the meaning? 



I was thinking this was all a circle. Maybe it’s a straight line instead. Like, I keep hoping things will come back to how they used to be, but the song fades out before that happens.

Amorak Huey is author of the poetry collections Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming 2019), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University. He is currently working on his first novel.

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