Back in the Swing?
(Hey! Let's Sing!)
by Cliff Walker

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Cliff begins to recover from a painfully crippling bout of acute edema, during which over the course of four weeks he accumulated an estimated 40 pounds of fluid just in his feet, calves, and lower thighs alone. Quite a sight to see, indeed! like Popeye's arms, almost! Edema is well-known as a common sign that mortality from Hepatitis C is about to set in; Cliff has played host to that virus for 27 years. The doctors acted as if conducting the Radiology tests were more of a formality than anything, so certain they were that this was the problem. So he spent almost a month remembering -- and weeping -- and eventually lost a few friends over what they called their "inability to handle death." Right!
     Cliff wrote this poem and sent it to a few karaoke acquaintances. This was a gesture of reaching out in his attempt to resume that particular diversion. Traveling to karaoke bars will be all the harder for Cliff, now that he had to move out of the section of town where most of the bars are.
     Since he doesn't see well enough to drive, Cliff must find transportation the hard way: groveling!

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Back in the Swing?
(Hey! Let's Sing!)
by Cliff Walker

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Notes:

* "Carry a key" has long been Cliff's multi-level pun describing how many wannabe singers solve a specific problem regarding a certain thing that they simply cannot do (to save their lives)!
     Uh, okay, for you ESL (and E5L etc.) folks: Everybody wants to sing like a star, but many simply don't have the talent: they cannot carry a key, or, more commonly, carry a tune, that is, sing the right notes, so they perform karaoke, (pronounced "carry-o-key"). Veteran karaoke singers from these parts are a very patient group. (Look at what they have to endure in order to pursue their hobby!) Thus, we basically treat everybody the same (or we try, anyhow), and it is a cardinal rule that you must clap for every singer, even if they suck. Especially if they suck!

Acutely shy and socially inept, Cliff long ago resigned to living a life buried in his work. Now and then, some brave soul dares to break through this otherwise impenetrable barrier. Part of this poem is to lament the down-side of such an arrangement. This also explains why Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From Me Friends" has, from the start, been Cliff's signature tune.

Gerry is a well-known Oregon karaoke septuagenarian and retired nurse. Still active in many sports, Gerry has a rather salty disposition that can be nullified by learning to sing a single Tony Bennett song.

 

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