songs i’ve been listening to lately-
- that song sung by my confused and taken aback friend in her tired yet strong voice. my hope song.
- Good Friday- Cocorosie
- Blue- Botibol
- Hey Mami- Sylvan Esso
- Harvest Moon- Neil Young
- Julia- The Beatles
- For you Blue- The Beatles
- At The Hop- Devendra Barnhart
- Sunshine on my Shoulders- John Denver
- Little Girl Blue- Janis Joplin
these are breezy and i like breezy music because when i feel really heavy breezy music gets me thru. windy windy windy. imagine eyelashes brushing against some dusty skinthing or sit in a car walking at 20 kmph on night-streetlight-lit-city-crannies and tilt your face outwards from the window- soft winds on your cheeks and listen to these and shake the bluest of blues off. okay? okay.
i do believe in the hiccup theory.
But I still have my body and with it these words, hammered into a structure just wide enough to hold the weight of my living. I want to use it to talk about my obsessions and fears, my odd and idiosyncratic joys. I want to leave the party through the window and find my uncle standing on a piece of iron shaped into visible desperation, which must also be (how can it not?) the beginning of visible hope. I want to stay there until the building burns down. I want to love more than death can harm. And I want to tell you this often: That despite being so human and so terrified, here, standing on this unfinished staircase to nowhere and everywhere, surrounded by the cold and starless night—we can live. And we will.
no google, i mean ‘sexual identities’ not ‘sexual intercourse’
How did we come to live in a culture in which it’s taboo to speak of the unpleasant? Let’s talk about something else, we say, something cheerful. Let’s save this for later, we say. Please, not now, not at the dinner table.
And I wonder whether the fascination is of death alone—or could it also be the failure of a device meant to prevent death. That one can indeed escape the fire, and still perish through the means of that escape. That the our last notion of safety, the plan B, the just-in-case, has literally fallen apart when we need it most. The picture makes palpable, in a way, what we can’t always say to one another without the risk of “dampening the mood”: I am vulnerable even when I should be safe.
I wonder what would happen if I were to bring the fire escape back inside. In fact, what would the fire escape look like if I were to wear it on my person, personality—in public? What would a fire escape sound like if it was imbedded into my daily language—and if I didn’t have to apologize for it? Could this be one reason we create art—one reason we make poems? To say the unsayable? I don’t know—but I’d like to think so. After all, the poem never needs to clear its throat or talk of the weather or explain why it’s here, what it’s looking for. It doesn’t even need its creator to speak. Its importance springs from its willingness to exist outside of practical speech. It possesses no capital yet still insists on being worthy. I come to the poem and it offers me immediate communication with someone’s secret self, a self preserved from the mainstream and its hunger for order through emotional sterilization. “Why, as poets,” says Carl Phillips, “[should we] strip and, thereby make visible, difficulty instead of satisfying the majority of people by veiling it? Because poetry is not only what reminds us that we are human, but helps ensure that we don’t forget what it means to be so.” In this way, the poem is more than paper and words, more than the obscure fiddlings of the high-brow, it is an invitation to a more private, necessary dialogue. I approach it as if climbing the rungs of someone’s fire escape—whether I go up or down is between me, the reader, and the poet. And maybe nothing is burning at all. Maybe we are only up here for the view. But it’s up here that I wonder, at the risk of asking for too much, what if a fire escape can be made into a bridge?
When someone dies their silence becomes a sort of held note, a key on the piano pressed down for so long it becomes an ache in the ear, a new sonic register from which we start to measure our new, ruptured lives. A white noise. Maybe this is why there is so much music in dying: the funerals, the singing, the hymns, the eulogies. All those sounds crowding the air with what the dead can’t say.
Maybe I prefer such visible desperation to exist outside of my home, out of view, out of mind—but always there.