You’re My Thrill

as sung by Helen Merrill (1965)

1.

You’re my thrill,
my joint, my shot, my magic pill.

I dwell in that gaudy den
of smoke and mirrors where, when

you close my eyes,
I take a trip

to paradise:
a casino where I always win

as long as I’m within
the grip

of the labyrinthine dream I’m in.
I may never get wise,

may never disbelieve these lies.
Yet I know I must get high.

2.

Admit it. You’re one of us.
You didn’t miss the bus.

You need to get drunk
on wine or weed or stronger junk.

Maybe you’re addicted to kinky sex,
bouncing your checks,

blaming your ex,
imitating Oedipus Rex.

Or maybe you need a fix
of speed, acid, ecstasy, sin,

coke, angel dust, gin,
or the white magic of heroin.

You know it’s true
and you know who.

“You’re my thrill. . .
Where’s my will?”

To you therefore I repeat
the sweet

immortal words of Charles Baudelaire,
and declare,

drink in hand, bidding you goodbye:
you must get high.

David Lehman

David Lehman

 David Lehman's most recent books are The Morning Line (Pittsburgh UP), a book of poems, and The Mysterious Romance of Murder: Crime, Detection, and the Spirit of Noir (Cornell University Press). The title poem of The Morning Line is a verse essay on gambling, doubt, and faith, and the book includes a Talmudic short story (“Tales Told To Tevye”) and an elegy for boyhood ("The Complete History of the Boy"). Of The Mysterious Romance of Murder, Lois Potter in London's TLS writes: “How often does a critical book actually make one want to read the books it discusses?” Lehman is a contributing editor of The American Scholar.
David Lehman

Latest posts by David Lehman (see all)

Author: David Lehman

 David Lehman's most recent books are The Morning Line (Pittsburgh UP), a book of poems, and The Mysterious Romance of Murder: Crime, Detection, and the Spirit of Noir (Cornell University Press). The title poem of The Morning Line is a verse essay on gambling, doubt, and faith, and the book includes a Talmudic short story (“Tales Told To Tevye”) and an elegy for boyhood ("The Complete History of the Boy"). Of The Mysterious Romance of Murder, Lois Potter in London's TLS writes: “How often does a critical book actually make one want to read the books it discusses?” Lehman is a contributing editor of The American Scholar.