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December 6, 2022

bang'n heads

Jonathan Petley

My good friend

tells me life’s been shit

She can’t deal with any of it

Ain’t seen her in almost fifteen years

and now we’re back here talk’n about music

Been really into death metal, she says

It takes me right up to the edge

close to go’n insane

where I feel . . . 


She’s . . .


It’s disturding

kinda concerning

Can’t stand it, I say

Gives me a headache

That cacophony

it ain’t for me

Who needs . . .

that misery?

It’s ugly

She frowns

I’m be’n mean

It’s upset’n, I mean

all the scream’n ’n yell’n

It’s not what I consider music

You need someth’n a little more . . .

The mellow shit’s get’n to me, she says

has me feel’n all melancholy

has me feel’n all blue

all emotional

feel’n . . .


I can’t


I understand

but heavy ain’t me

Music ain’t for therapy

It’s for remember’n

and forget’n



for get’n loose

when it’s move’n

when it’s really pop’n

when I’m all caught up in it

desperately wait’n for the chorus

The last thing I want to hear is chaos

She grins when I say chaos

She takes a deep breath

She closes her eyes

Embrace the chaos

It’s fucking marvelous!

It’s a release from negativity

Sometimes you jus’ wanna scream

a fuck you to all that shit you’ve seen

a fuck you to the big ugly world

She’s a different kinda girl

been through some shit

She’s seen some shit

Ain’t on her page

I don’t “rage”

don’t do


Maybe . . .

she might cry

Her eyes are hazy


It ain’t good for you, I say

Have you tried jazz, I ask

or classic rock, or rap

bluegrass, or reggae

I dare say country

Someth’n artistic

with some soul

or . . . pop

anything . . .


I got it, she says

If it’s soul you want

you should listen to this

And when she presses play

and the bass drum’s kick’n in

and then . . .        that distortion

I’m feel’n like punch’n someth’n

and my heart starts thump’n

feel’n . . . someth’n

completely new

Hear it? she yells

I think I’m start’n to

I’m shake’n my head, no

It’s too loud . . . fast!

I can’t make out those lyrics!

She cranks the volume way up

and the tormented lead guitar

cries out over the madness

and she’s breath’n harder

Hear it now? she asks

and she comes alive

flail’n everywhere

bang’n her head

jump’n ‘round

flap’n ‘r hair

act’n nutty

let’n go



she hollers

laugh’n at me

Feel that energy?

The chaos is set’n in

and my head is pound’n

my bones are shake’n

my heart is ache’n

as I find myself

there with her

in the pain

lose’n it







Jonathan Petley is an author, illustrator, and fine artist. His past projects include picture books, published poems, a collection of over two hundred cartoon strips, murals, sculptures, puppets, and a number of other private painting and illustration commissions. But his greatest achievement to date is his recently completed novel-in-verse, LOONEY, in the final stages of editing. It pulls together many of his creative passions into one special project. He has a playful and imaginative style in both writing and art alike. The quickest way to find him is to step out of the box; he’ll be out there somewhere—creating.


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