Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix Perform “Summertime”

In the political novel The Iron Heel Jack London says the conflict
is always there, in our economic system, between capital and labor.
You can hear it in the way Janis belts out One of these mornings
you gonna rise up singing. Hendrix tosses in the lead-guitar-as-
exclamation-point so Janis can sing Child, you’re livin’ easy
and be sure we know the irony is that it’s a dream. Not real.
My friend, Stevie Conley, was at Woodstock. He tells me
Janis got falling-down drunk. That she talked a lot of shit.
She’s not talking shit here. She’s got a fear in her voice
says Jack London is right and we’re, all of us, doomed.
This version of the song is about that struggle between
wanting and needing and then receiving what you need.
The real trick is getting you to believe your daddy is rich,
your momma good looking. That we will rise up singing.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is a poet and creative writing teacher who now lives in New Jersey. His work has been recognized with fellowships from the NEA, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Ohio Arts Council. His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Pleiades, Blackbird, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and Works & Days. Books include Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama, 1986), Any One Man (Bottom Dog, 1992), and The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine, 2006). Starlight Taxi, his most recent collection, was published in 2013 by Lynx House Press. His story "The War of Northern Aggression" appeared in Red Savina Review in 2015.


  1. Stevie Conley says:

    Love this one. Please give us more Roy Bentley

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