Apr 19, 2011

Janis Joplin’s Eulogy to the Graduating Class of Thomas Jefferson High in Port Arthur, Texas, 1960

Written by Chris Haven

Read by Mia

You’re not all dead yet but soon will be.
Truth is, it’s hard for me to muster
all the hate I used to have.
I used to think you made me
lonely and I could hurt you
with all the love in my life.
I burned. I wanted to smoke you.
Longer dead than alive now,
that’s where you’ll all be, man —
Might as well wear feathers.
I was trying to figure
where the fault lied,
but my secret: I wanted it all.
No reason for you to have
all the good stuff.
Did you live good lives?
Did you do good work plumber,
bus driver, refinery worker?
Have lotsa babies, get the right
husband? Ever find the good
drugs? Lotta different kinds . . .
I’d take them again if I could.
See, here you get to see
possibilities. I coulda died
seventeen times before that hotel room.
If that one didn’t get me I had fifty-
six more waiting. I see them like stars,
constellations of all my deaths.
You’ll get to see yours soon enough.
The hardest thing for me here?
I don’t get to sing.
You? You won’t get to do
whatever shit you liked to do.