"We Listen to Biggie in English II" by P.J. Williams

“We Listen to Biggie in English II” by P.J. Williams

Today is his deathday. The anniversary of nine
millimeters through rhymes.
My students aren’t allowed to hear
echoed back to them the same words they use
daily, so we play his rhythms with words
exhumed—instrumentals the remnants
of the movement of blood
into music. We are reading All Quiet
on the Western Front, shells
clapping out of old soul
samples. One student says Biggie
should have had a guy like Kat around
to look after him. Another says Puffy
tried. They are learning
how many ways a man can be ready
to die. They are learning something:
how to keep things breathing—to believe
in whispering lyrics
into the abdomen of a book.


[author_info]P. J. Williams teaches high school English in Apex, North Carolina. His poems can be found in Cartographer, Counterexample, Red River Review, and Mixed Fruit. He hopes to pursue an MFA in 2012.[/author_info]