in a video of one of them exploding into pieces
in the middle of a desert
that I watched on my cell phone in bed,
Daft Punk announced their break-up today,
I want to hear that glossy guitar strumming —
the one that stuck to my skin like the humidity
the summer before my mom
got the car with the Bluetooth and good A/C.
We only ever played radio then,
and every day we’d hear the hit
we misheard the lyrics of
I know you won’t find anything in your digital databases.
We made it up.
“We’re up all night to get lucky,” over, over —
we saturated it with our culture,
‘cause on the other side of that, Siri,
when you smooth a lyric into what it only speaks
to you and your people, there’s heat there.
A body moves the way I can only do alone
in this snowed-in cold-floored quarantined apartment,
with the robot voice I am trying to sing into a believer,
the way I did with my cousins in a club in Guadalajara
when “Get Lucky” came on the speakers,
pulling their beer breaths close to mine
in that warm-wet dark.
I shouted, shared with them the reclaimed lyric —
“Uruapan Mexican lucky —
Uruapan Mexican lucky –”
and, grinning with a buzz only beloveds can,
we danced in praise of our motherland,
the one that the song was not actually praising
but we rolled it on our tongues as such,
rolled our waists in accented electricity.
That night, I learned the word “añoranza,”
a feeling between nostalgia and grief
that my cousin gave up trying to explain
as we gave in to the white strobes and disco rhythm.
I know you can’t play me that version,
but play me again —
on this day when the sunlight warms blizzard snow
into water — the summer hit
whose robot voices danced me closer to my blood.
Play it in praise of sweat,
which a robot like you
could never feel
and taste the bittersweet of
and wash itself in for a night.
I praise the men
who wore robot helmets
to defy all lifelessness
and gave pulse to a red desert sunset.
I praise the misheard lyric,
warm and broken and golden after all.
I praise the body,
its simultaneous explosion and survival,
to which every song
is a praise of.
Header image by Yusra Shah