Falling in Love/Lust with The 1975 in Glasgow

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A low drone noise has been radiating from the speakers for the past half an hour. I’ve just downed one vodka tonic and I’m gripping my second. I look up and see the outlines of three rectangles above the stage, three dark boxes waiting to be filled with light. There’s nobody behind the microphone yet.

I didn’t even care about The 1975 six weeks ago. Then “UGH!” came on the radio when I was driving my mum’s car late at night and I almost crashed it into the wall at the end of my parents’ street. I’ve crashed a car once before, on the journey home from kissing a boy who I then fell obsessively in love with for ten years.

Next I saw the video for “UGH!” The section at the beginning before the set is crushed with light felt like taking a deep breath. I saw the clapperboard in front of the camera, saw them all line up in front of the set, then I saw Matty Healy in silhouette, and I waited for him to start singing, and when he started, I was in love. Three minutes of him in what felt like a hundred different outfits, with the set glowing blue and pink and static in the background. I’d never thought about him for a second before then.

It all happened so fast.

It’s 8:45pm and the drone is louder now. I’ve been thinking about this exact minute, this specific pocket of time for weeks. The anticipation I’ve felt about seeing this show has been so intense that it has become physical. The week before I see them I can barely eat and I have to drink to calm my nerves. I keep thinking about the five minutes before they go onstage. If I can’t keep it together when it’s far enough in the future to be abstract, how will I cope when it’s close enough to touch, when the lights go down, when I can hear the ripple of screams from the other side of the crowd? It’s sickening anticipation, it’s wanting them – wanting Matty, specifically – now and forever or just wanting him to never arrive onstage, to leave the country, to get out of my life forever because I can’t handle the possibility of his presence.

The lights go down. The girls at the other side scream. There’s Ross, the bass player, then Adam, the guitarist, then George, the drummer, then a long pause. Then Matty, leather fringe hanging from his arms and corkscrew curls hanging in front of his eyes. First it is “Love Me” and then “UGH!”, no stopping between them; it’s perfect and breathless and there’s no time, there’s no time to intellectualise that this is happening right now, right in front of me. It’s living inside the “UGH!” video for an hour and a half – the same set and a different colour scheme for each song. I feel like the girl in the a-Ha video who dissolves into her television.

Matty’s the centre of attention at all times – of course he is. He’s taking his jacket off, then pulling his cowboy shirt out from his jeans, then unbuttoning it halfway through the show. He walks around the stage with his glass of wine and he’s mesmerizing. He’s half expert sex angel – licking his lips and then throwing his head back during “Robbers” – and half embarrassing cousin at a wedding, addressing us as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ with his thumbs up after every other song, playing up to and then completely shattering the much-discussed image of him as a studied pretender to the rock star throne.

Even when they’re onstage the push and pull of wanting and having doesn’t stop. The moments when Matty disappears and reappears are the most delicious, even more than the time he spends dangling from the edge of the stage screaming with his head between his knees. At the end of “Anobrain,” he climbs up behind drummer George’s drumkit and stands behind him for the end of the song, then he disappears behind the set, and the lights turn to television static. As the band starts to play “Fallingforyou,” their most intimate song, Matty emerges, climbing onto the amp stack, a shadow against the buzzing static behind him. I can’t see him singing the words, he’s a silhouette, but I feel the sense of sexual possibility, the wanting, the longing for someone who might long for you too. Then he leaps to the edge of the stage, back into the light for the best line – “I don’t want to be your friend / I want to kiss your neck.” The song ends with a bass rumble that I can feel crawl up my toes, through my heart and into my lips – the climax of the drone from the beginning of the show. What I’ve been waiting for since I first heard “UGH!” on the radio, since I bought the ticket for the show, since the lights went down at the start. The moment when the anticipation makes way for the actual release.


Claire Biddles is an artist and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. She makes work about crushes, regional glamour and the relationship between pop culture and real life.

TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART (a playlist)

  1. Lizzo – En Love
  2. M.I.A. – Fire Fire
  3. Little Esther – I’m a Bad, Bad Girl
  4. The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
  5. Rilo Kiley – Portions for Foxes
  6. Worriers – Unwritten
  7. Colleen Green – Whatever I Want
  8. The I Don’t Cares – Just a Phase
  9. Thurston Moore – Psychic Hearts
  10. The Kills – Fuck the People
  11. Pixies – Holiday Song
  12. Dum Dum Girls – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
  13. EL VY – Need a Friend
  14. The Cars – Dangerous Type
  15. The Make-Up – White Belts
  16. The Mo-Dettes – White Mice
  17. Thee Headcoatees – Ça Plane Pour Moi
  18. Huggy Bear – Pansy Twist
  19. Bikini Kill – I Like Fucking
  20. Mika Miko – Sex
  21. Dresden Dolls – Dirty Business
  22. Screaming Females – Triumph

(+ a bonus track that isn’t on the playlist: Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You)

(listen to it at 8tracks)

It is springtime, and springtime can kill you (just like it did poor me). The light is clearer and hangs on longer in the sky each day, the birds are all singing riotous songs in the treetops. A few days ago, it was seventy degrees; I drank iced coffee and resisted the urge to cut the sleeves off all my t-shirts. It is springtime, and I am so damn restless I’m about ready to tear my skin off. I can’t focus on anything. I pick up a book, read a few pages, put it down again. I start a poem, write a few lines, quit. My notebooks are full of Jenny Holzer-esque truisms that I write in all caps. YOU WILL GET SO TIRED OF WEIGHING THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES. SOMETIMES YOU WILL BE READY TO SAY “FUCK IT” AND FOLLOW YR HEART. BE A DRUNKEN SLUT. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.

I just want to trust my stupid fucking heart. Or maybe I just want something that makes my stupid heart beat faster.

I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. When I was younger, I usually leapt into things without caring what the result would be. (And now I can’t believe I didn’t put that Shivvers song on this playlist: when I was younger, when I was younger, when I was younger.) I went for what felt good, or even bad, as long as I was feeling something. As long as it made me feel alive. But there were enough adverse consequences that I began to grow afraid. I was often on the verge of eviction, because I did things like spending my rent money on road trips. I hurt people. I disappointed people. Friends and family started telling me that I was wasting my life.

…some might say that you and I have wasted our lives so far. Yes, we have had our hearts broken more than most. (We’ve broken some hearts, too.) We’ve had brushes with the law; and we’ve dealt with pregnancy scares and unemployment and spent many mornings too hungover to even move. But we have also experienced so much poetry, seen so much beauty, received so much love. We have had more fun in our short lives than most people ever get to have; so how could we ever consider it a waste?

-from something I wrote in 2006

Maybe I still want to waste my life, if wasting my life is what it takes to feel alive. To paraphrase Dazed & Confused, a movie I watched over and over when I felt those first reckless, restless stirrings in my teenage body: I need some good old, worthwhile, visceral experience. I want to go out into the wild, twisting night, want to take drugs, get laid, maybe get in a fight. Except I don’t do drugs anymore and I don’t get in fights anymore and no, I won’t spend all my rent money on a road trip. There are certain things I’m not willing to risk, and that’s for the best. But I am tired of worrying about what other people think; tired of not doing what I want to do because it might hurt or disappoint someone in my life. I don’t want to hurt anyone, of course not, but it’s my life and it’s springtime and my heart is saying go. I want to fuck. I want to dance. I want to smash it up. I want sudden intense connections with interesting strangers. I want to take long drives in search of coffee and trouble. (Remembering that spring so long ago when I drove the seven hours from Chicago to St. Louis just to get coffee at a Waffle House.) I want to rip my tights, walk along the train tracks, get my boots all covered in good mud. I want, I want, I want. No, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I am tired of not being myself. And I’m bad news, baby, I’m bad news.

I’m just a traveling girl with a wild mane of wavy red hair, holes in my tights, all my clothes smelling of smoke. I can roll a cigarette while driving down the freeway at eighty miles an hour. I can get drunk as shit and get two hours of sleep and drive from one town to another, then do it all again the next night. I can find my way anywhere. I can get lost anywhere.

-from something I wrote in 2007

I dye my hair red again every spring. No matter what other colors I might dye it the rest of the year, in spring I metamorphose back into a redhead. I was born with red hair but it faded to a drab brown when I hit puberty, some shitty twist of fate, so I became a bottle redhead. Red hair is fiery, brazen, witchy. (Redheads used to be burnt at the stake as witches, because it was believed they had magic powers.) Red is the color of anger and lust, love and rage. The color of blood and lipstick and my stupid, wildly beating heart. Girls like me are meant to have red hair.

It’s springtime, and I’m a wild redheaded girl for life. So take me out tonight. Take me anywhere, I don’t care, I don’t care. Take me to where the rough edges of the night meet the back alleys. Take me to the rooftops and fire escapes of your town. Take me to all-nite diners, where we can get coffee-buzzed and plot to take over the world. Let’s walk around. Let’s drive too fast on backroads. I don’t need your love, I just need a friend.

I still want all the same old dumb shit I’ve always wanted. Spontaneous adventures, crushes, mix tapes. Music I can feel in my guts, in my bones, whether it’s hip-hop or the punk rocks. Sneaky eyes and sleeveless t-shirts. Sex and danger. In the immortal words of Henry Rollins: I want to fuck on the floor and break shit. Yeah, I like fucking. I’m always restless, and next to wandering, sex is one of the few things that eases my restlessness. And I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe. I do, I do, I do.

I’ve lost some friends because I’ve failed to grow up properly. These friends used to be just like me (you fuckers used to be just like me), but they went straight. I don’t mean straight as in heterosexual, I mean straight as in normal. They became capital-G Grown Ups. They got advanced degrees and nine-to-fives and stopped making zines and got their tattoos removed. I’m an adult, too. I have a kid, and a writing career; I pay my bills instead of going on ill-advised road trips, I don’t go on benders or do drugs anymore. But I also haven’t given up crushes or adventure or art or punk; I’m still making zines and giving myself stick ’n’ poke tattoos. I’ve still got that steel-toed spark and that teenage j.d. twitch. Maybe they’re bitter because they thought growing up meant giving all that up.

We can have all of it! We can be mamas and healers and have love and morals and sweetness and good things in our lives, but we don’t have to give up the rest—we can also be wild punk rock goddesses of destruction and fuck and fight and drink and smoke and swear and make mad art, goddamnit!

-from something I wrote in 2013

I should’ve known something was up the last time I saw M.—before she decided she hated me, when I still thought we’d be friends for life—when she said: “I’m over Amanda Palmer. It’s not cute to tell young girls that it’s okay to be fucked-up.” That stunned me, because she was once a fucked-up girl, just like me. She and I used to listen to Dresden Dolls albums and talk about how eerily close to our own lives they were, how it was like AFP had looked into our souls and made songs out of them. But maybe that’s the other thing. It’s not just that M. and the others gave up their former passions. They also regret that they ever lived that way. They regret the days of chronic unemployment and ill-advised road trips, the crazy-mad love affairs, the all-nite diner marathons, the epic meals we made from what we found in dumpsters. And I don’t. No matter how I’ve changed, or how many of those things I don’t want anymore, I could never ever regret those days. They made me who I am, and they gave me so many stories to tell. To all the ones who thought they knew me best, a test to prove your prowess. Who was mine in ’99? I want last names, and current status.

No, I don’t want to wind up on the verge of eviction, or have my electricity shut off. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But it is springtime, and I am so tired of weighing the potential consequences. And I’m just a redheaded restless punk rock goddess of destruction for life, and I still want all that shit that makes my stupid, reckless heart beat faster. Loud music, caffeine, adventure, sex. If you’re like me, you’re feeling the same way. So:

WHO CARES WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. STOP THINKING. IT’S SO TIRING. TRUST YR STUPID FUCKING HEART.

Get out, get out of your house.

nonrequired reading: let’s be social about books

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“In the heaven of werewolves, there’s just new grass folding back into place.”

Some books I have read as of today, March 28th, 2016, that I want to talk about:

Mongrels (Stephen Graham Jones) is a book about werewolves but it is really about family, about stories, about the ways that we knit ourselves to each other. It is about the way that sometimes you have to lie to get closer to the truth – sometimes a story is diminished in the telling, so you have to scale up accordingly. It is very sad and very beautifully written, and I cried about it. It is also fairly scary at points in a sort of creeping way, and it also made me care about werewolves for maybe the first time ever. I feel about most werewolves the way I feel about zombies – their narratives are usually very predictable, very boring, and very predicated on violence as the only answer. This book went a long way toward changing my mind. 5/5 would read again.

This Is Not A Test (Courtney Summers) is a zombie book – again, not a narrative that I love – but it is about a girl who wants to die. It is a really fascinating thing to watch unfold, and it hits very close to home, and it gave me good-vampire-narrative vibes, which I think says something about me – I am very interested in people who don’t want to be vampires, in any narrative, because what they are saying at its core is that they do someday want to die. I’m getting a little off track, but it is very good and genuinely moving and I love Courtney Summers a lot, always. 5/5 will probably not read again but am very interested in reading the sequel.

Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer) is, as you probably know, a personal account of the Everest expedition of 1996, during which a blizzard killed eight people and mangled a lot more. I knew about it, had read about it, have fallen down many Wikipedia k-holes about the death zone, the edema, the Khumbu icefall which you can only cross in the very early morning when it’s still cold because the ice shifts and falls during the day. But reading about it from Krakauer’s perspective makes it much less academic and, at the same time, much more understandable. I cried a lot – it is a very hard read, a series of very senseless and avoidable deaths, but it is honest and beautiful. 5/5 will someday read again; will not watch the movie again.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Helen Oyeyemi) is a new collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors. Read it, read it, read it. 5/5 will read again ASAP.

Paper Tigers (Damien Angelica Walters) is a well-written but ultimately not-as-thrilling-as-I-wanted horror novel. 4/5 will not read again, but maybe worth a read for you if it’s been a while since you got a little freaked out.

Currently I am reading an advance copy of Kissing in America (Margo Rabb), which I am almost a third of the way done with and still undecided about. I think I like it, although I don’t love the writing, but I am reserving judgment because our narrator has a tendency to belittle beautiful girls. There is a lot of poetry in it though, and I am remembering more and more lately that I do love poetry, have loved certain poetry for what feels like my whole life. I am also in the middle of Richard Siken’s Crush (see! poetry!). Next on the list is Juliet Takes a Breath (Gabby Rivera), which I am deeply excited for. I will keep you updated.

I’m on this app now, it’s a new app, they only have it for Apple products so far, but it is called Litsy. It’s like Instagram, kind of, but only for books. There are not a lot of people on it yet, so I can’t quite tell how good it’s going to be, but I think it’s one of those that’s only as good as the content. So if you like your Goodreads app but you don’t love Amazon or whatever, and you want to take pictures of your books or look at the pictures that I take of mine, you can come check that out if you want. I’m on there as @furiosa. Do you have book apps you use other than Goodreads? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk! About books! What are you reading? Do you feel that the romance novel as an institution is unfairly maligned? Imagine that my head is propped on my hands and I’m doing a very attentive listening pose. Go!

“Made My Decision To Test My Limits”: Ariana Grande and Willa’s Artistic Impulses

Being a woman shouldn’t feel like a political act in 2016, but there are still days that I navigate my commute to and from my Bushwick apartment as men holler, cars honk and bodega workers sneer at my ass and I forget how I mustered the courage to leave my apartment at all. My wardrobe is not utilitarian in nature. It’s impractical and loud. I wear patterned dresses, sparkly boots, and sheer crops anywhere and everywhere. These days, since moving, every morning as I go through my closet I find myself reaching for pieces that will allow me to blend into my new surroundings. For perhaps the first time in my life, I don’t want my fashion choices to be noticed at all. I once had the luxury of hiding behind my car, the tinted windows and blaring bass. My chances for interactions in public with strangers wanting to comment on my outer appearance with whispered comments were slim. There was rarely vulgarity; outside of “nice skirt” from women who understood the pains of finding a well-fitted pencil skirt, there were rarely any comments at all. That is not my current reality. Just last week a man followed me to the subway, muttering about what he’d like to do to me given the opportunity. Quite frankly, my iPod has become a lifeline. When men shout, “Didn’t you hear my compliment!” I can walk past truthfully—eyes on the ground, paces brisk—knowing that I didn’t hear whatever choice of words were their idea of a “compliment.” Turning the volume up, I am soundproofed. I can no longer hear the tasteless comments. If I put on the right track, I can even feel bulletproof.

Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman,” released on March 11, replaced Rihanna’s “Needed Me” as my kiss-off track on my iPod last weekend as I walked (stalked down the pavement like it was own personal runway) to the grocery store, Forever 21 and Rite-Aid.

I have a confession to make before I discuss “Dangerous Woman.” Ariana’s appeal has long eluded me. Don’t get me wrong. I pined for her hair during the years of Victorious. I have her collaboration with Childish Gambino on my iPod. I danced in my car to “Problem.” I longed for Harry Styles’s demo version of him singing “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” as I listened to her soft, hushed ballad. I paid for “Bang Bang” featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. I highly recommend her Christmas Kisses EP. It’s that, quite frankly, I’ve been mystified by Ariana’s image. The image that at times seemed infantile. I’ve been trying to educate myself. I am well aware as of late that Ariana might be one of the most vocal musicians who is actually living the lyrical content of confidence and control her songs exudes to fans. Last year, I clapped alongside Tumblr as Ariana told off the media for insinuating that she couldn’t simply be “friends” with One Direction’s Niall Horan. Identifying as a feminist, Ariana told her fans and detractors, “I am tired of living in world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present or future PROPERTY / POSSESSION.”

“Dangerous Woman” feels like an appropriate extension of Ariana’s brand. Weeks after coming to the defense of Kesha, an early collaborator of Ariana’s, amidst her longstanding legal battle with Sony and Dr. Luke over allegations of sexual assault, Ariana uses her pipes to speak up once again about another definition of womanhood. Right from the start, Ariana doesn’t “need permission.” Taking control of this kind of moment / I’m locked and loaded / Completely focused, my mind is open… If 2014 was the Year of the “Good Girl” in music, I am ready for Ariana to celebrate the bad girl. Or at least a girl with shadows, edges. I want a blueprint of how to sneer back, how to command my own potential. Makes me wanna do things I shouldn’t / Something ‘bout, something ‘bout… Performing the track on Saturday Night Live last weekend, an episode that also saw her hosting, Ariana, poised and controlled, asserted through countless sketches that she really does knows exactly what’s she doing. Nothing to prove and I’m bulletproof and / Know what I’m doing…

I’d like to thank Spotify for putting Willa’s “Swan” on their New Music Friday playlist after Ariana. There’s a fluid movement between singers. Much like “Dangerous Woman,” Willa’s track demands the listener’s attention. I’m not in love / Don’t have the touch / Don’t have the time to bend another little church boy’s mind (again)… This track feels like an extension of our current cultural climate of Tinder, social media, and Broad City.  While I could make the time for a relationship with it’s ease of familiarity and takeout orders and nights in sprawled on the couch, I don’t want to make the time to date. A few weeks back, I met a guy at a bar. There was promising witty bar side banter, but when he dropped he lived in Westchester I knew our “meet-cute” was over. It’d basically be the equivalent of a long distance relationship in New York City. Dating is engaging and thrilling at it’s best, tedious and tiresome for the most part. I don’t have the money to see friends for dinner on the off chance I’m not working late into the evening with production’s ever-changing schedule, let alone a night to offer potential OkCupid dates who will ghost. In a culture where you can list off in a profile who you are, it’s apt of Willa to inform the listener she isn’t an angel, trophy or debutante. If that’s what her suitor is looking for, they can move right along. Swipe left. I’m not a swan / Pretty in a pond…

Two weeks ago, I bought Rebecca Traister’s All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. I’d recommend it for witchsong readers. Traister writes, “Women find themselves growing into themselves, shaping their identities, dreams and goals not necessarily in tandem with a man or within a traditional family structure, but instead alongside other women. Their friends.” The thesis of the book, which I’ll admit I haven’t finished as of yet, can best be summed up by Willa’s declaration in “Swan”, Don’t have the time / Call it a crime, to find everything I need in me (mind)… The book focuses largely on the female friendships that make life in the twenty-first century feel whole, complete. We are increasingly a world of dangerous women no longer seeking to fulfill the archetypes of “sweet treats.” I’m glad Ariana and Willa are providing us the soundtrack to blast if we ever need to be reminded of just how perilous we can be.

Bonus: If you are a fan of Ariana’s “Dangerous Woman,” check out the A Cappella version she released yesterday.

The Saddest Songs Are in Major Keys

“Hallelujah California” – Luna Shadows

Daddy always warned that the saddest songs are in major keys is a line that kills me, because this song is not in a major key. But then, songs about California are usually not in major keys. It’s not a sad song at all; it’s just a melancholic California song, a song of mirages, of someone disappearing slowly into the horizon from your seat on the sticky pavement. It’s a song we hear over and over again, from “Hotel California” and “California Dreamin’” to everything Lana del Rey has ever written.

Limits EPMt. Si

Mt. Si unites the unstructured dreaminess of shoegaze with a heavily defined, often jarring beat. They allow a drop here and a chord there to push themselves out from the haze of lazy synths and floating vocals, bringing your attention to their significance in a song you could sleep through. The beat is often melodic and sounds like a natural noise, compared to all the electronica happening around it. While the harmonies and even the tracks themselves tend to melt into each other, that occasional beat gives Limits a sharp, resounding definition.

“U Up” – Soft Lit

From the title alone, I had been convinced that this song was by dudebros. Oh no, I thought, this is a song either relentlessly bashing or misogynistically embracing “u up” and I hate it. I’m so sorry, Soft Lit, for making this stereotypical assumption! Here it is: a lady (okay, and a guy on synths) giving that guy who texted “u up” an even more apathetic response. Sliding into nothing, she whisper-sings. You think like I got time/But you’re not on my mind. It’s not the “u up” itself that is the problem, it’s the dude who just can’t get over her hiding behind the lazy text.

“Don’t Worry About Me” – Frances

Frances reminds us that melodies, in and of themselves, can be sad and beautiful things in her single “Don’t Worry About Me.” If I were listening to it in my room or on a redeye flight far away from home, I would almost certainly cry. But this song eclipses a specific emotion, and my ears tend instead to focus on a single note, a pause, or an elongation. Because there’s so little to parse, I’m forced to focus on subtle changes in harmonies and cadences.

“Souvenirs” – Cardiknox

Thinking of yourself as a tourist in your own relationship is unique in just how cold it feels. “Souvenirs” is in a major key (the saddest songs are in major keys), and through it Cardiknox describes physical objects and scenarios instead of the emotions attached to them, as though they’re foreign to her. She wants — more than anything — to keep those memories as her own, but she describes them as though she’s borrowed them from a stranger.

“Good As Hell” – Lizzo

Lizzo (of “Let ‘Em Say,” a song I’ve been obsessed with since I first heard it for Broad City’s most recent season premier) dropped this single for the sure-to-be-amazing movie Barbershop: The Next Cut. And like any tried-and-true banger, the song comes with an incredible chorus: If he don’t love you anymore/Just walk your fine ass out the door/I do my hair toss, check my nails/Baby how you feelin’? Feelin’ good as hell. This is a love-yourself song that fits in perfectly with a movie that praises the inherent beauty in blackness and uses its community to fight oppression. Go listen to this song, then go reserve your ticket for Barbershop 3, which comes out on April 15.


Carson is a 23-year-old who discovered the joys of the Backstreet Boys two years ago, when she fell down a pink fur-lined rabbit hole into the world of pop. She has since taken it upon herself to make an exodus into the underbelly of the glitter-covered beast. You can find her Spotify account here and you can also find her on Tumblr

Teen Dreams with The 1975

It has been so long since I felt like this. Ricocheting against myself with the force of a slammed door traveling up a wrist, howling inside the closed room of my body but still somehow wide open to the mess of things, a sea spread flat and waiting for rain, waiting for sunshine, my surface dappled and troubled and permeable, a shivering mess of light and shadow: this is where I am these days, most hours awake and some sleeping too. I tremble a lot. Sometimes I catch a smell rising off my skin, hot and sharp, floral like the magnolia petals falling off the tree at the end of the block — ground into the pavement by someone’s careless heel, firm pearl pink cut through with rot.

It’s been three years since The 1975 released a full-length album and in that time I have mostly been getting to my desk job on time and remembering to pack a salad for lunch and hanging up my silk blouses when I get home. I’ve been steady. My skin has been okay. I’m grown, is what I’m saying, but lucky for me, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it dropped two months into the first time I’ve been off the birth control pill since I was sixteen, and this shitstorm of hormones leaves me in exactly the right emotional space to experience it for what it is. I’m a teenager again, utterly defenseless against the way the world moves into and through me, a conduit, bathed in my own electricity, jittering and dripping. I start splashing and sloshing and sparking hot when a wire touches me and there is a wire touching me almost all the time.

What I’m saying is, I was ready for this because I wasn’t ready for this.

This is music for teenagers, maybe even more than The 1975 was. This is sloppy and atmospheric and posturing. These are songs with brash dumb lyrics that are trying too hard, fake-cynical lyrics that don’t manage to disguise the emotion that brims and breaks and swells beneath them. Matty Healy chooses words like a stoned college sophomore whose midterm paper is due at noon, meaning mostly it’s a mishmash of messy diction masking ideas uncomplicated enough to shine through despite that, but sometimes he gets the glitter of something genuinely great. It’s fucked up to think that the same person who wrote “If I Believe You” — which muses on religious belief and atheism with all the nuance of a pretentious seventh grader who once read Richard Dawkins’ Twitter — can turn around and put out lines as biting and clean as I don’t want your body but I hate to think about you with somebody else.

A lot of these songs revolve around romance but rarely do the women in his songs function like traditional love objects; my favorite game is flipping the characters and marveling at how easy it is to imagine lines like you used to have a face straight out a magazine / now you just look like anyone as being sung at him instead of by him. The criticisms he levels at girl after girl become, in aggregate, a story more about him than about them, and meanwhile those criticisms are things like you took a picture of your salad and put it on the internet, which rotate their subjects from reductive intellectual-bro stereotypes into tiny narratives so perfectly relatable and nuanced that I kick the air with delight every time I hear them. Does he know he’s doing that? Is he trying to be mean, or has he been dedicating himself to ensuring each person who appears in his songs seems three-dimensional enough to sustain a full-length novel? I honestly can’t tell, but if I had to bet money, I’d say he has no fucking clue.

What is infuriating about Matty Healy is that he thinks he’s so smart, but even more infuriating is that he actually is smart, just not in the ways he seems to think he is. He loves to talk in interviews about what he writes about — fame, philosophy, the bitterness of love, questioning God — but, frankly, he’s not giving us anything new on those fronts. What happens in these songs that pushes them from the trash your local litbro writes to actual fucking poetry is the way he fails over and over to be convincing, the way he demonstrates that a self is most purely beautiful in the places where it is unable to disguise its vulnerability, and he owes almost all of that to how fucking good he is at writing and producing music. It all happens in the sound.

If these were really rock songs, they’d be all wrong, but they’re all as pop as pop can be. Pick and choose any and all of the usual adjectives — lush, glittering, soaring, sugary, thumping, tremulous — they’re all there, but they’re new somehow, and that’s where the genius is. I mean, can you believe synths can still sound revelatory? Every third radio station is playing something that sounds like a Kygo remix (and don’t get me wrong, I love that), but this album is beyond that. “A Change Of Heart” starts out with a canned eighties-prom-slow-dance Casio beat and floats like a silver Mylar balloon into a theremin break which wavers gently through a sea of iridescent bubbly echoes that genuinely would not be out of place in an Enya song, and you guys, my heart! When I listen to this I forget I’m on the train, I forget I’m anxious, I forget I’m anywhere other than floating in a starry mist. I put myself at risk of stepping in dog shit every day because I can’t listen to “Somebody Else” without my chin tipping skyward while my feet move me forward over all those filthy streets that Matty Healy is pretending to talk about. This isn’t music for looking at the world clear-eyed and pointing out faults and spitting truth. This is music for feeling.

My favorite song on this album is “Paris.” I have a rule for myself that I’m not allowed to put repeat on for the songs I love, so their magic doesn’t wear thin, but I’ve broken it with this one. I think it will take me hundreds of listens more to find out why it makes my whole body sing with certainty and understanding, but for now I am preoccupied with how it sounds like acknowledging past selves — not any specific self, only those that once existed and are now gone, whether by accidental change or conscious growth. I never felt much heartache from Casablanca‘s classic “We’ll always have Paris,” and for me the buoyant refrain of how I’d love to go to Paris again, and again, and again and again, and— is its antithesis: you can choose to acknowledge an ending by glossing over your hurt with a certainty and finality you do not feel, or you can allow yourself to linger in how beautiful it would be to have it one more time. I always prefer to sink myself in the wanting. Besides, these days, walking past jasmine vines with a pink buzz of chemicals flooding my blood, it seems that sometimes it isn’t up to you anyway. No matter how much you believe a part of your life to be finished, it can always split you right back open.

splinter: playlist

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splinter. a fracture. a break. the sound of silence.

playlist.

Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams [GRAMMY Museum]
You’ll see me in hindsight / Tangled up with you all night…

Diana Krall – A Case of You [Live In Paris]
Oh! You’re in my blood like holy wine / You taste so bitter and you taste so sweet…

Adele – Million Years Ago
Sometimes I just feel it’s only me / Who can’t stand the reflection that they see…

One Direction – Long Way Down
Point of no return and now it’s just too late to turn around / I try to forgive you but I struggle cause I don’t know…

Sufjan Stevens – No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross
Get drunk to get laid / I take one more hit when you depart…

Ryan Adams – How You Get The Girl
Say “I want you for worse or for better / I would wait forever and ever / Broke your heart, I’ll put it back together…”

Hanson – Use Me Up (Acoustic)
So, please, use me up / I just want anyone to use me up…

The 1975 – Somebody Else
I don’t want your body / But I hate to think about you with somebody else…

Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins – Happy
So I could be happy, happy / Oh so happy, happy…

Wet – Body
No one said it would be easy / But I never knew I’d be so lonely…

Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard – One Fast Move or I’m Gone
We used to dream together / But now I drink alone…

Little Mix – The End
And no one can love you, the way I used to do / But / Love isn’t fair

Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
You say space will make it better / And time will make it heal / I won’t be lost forever…

all i know are sad songs

I saw Garden State for the first and only time when I was seventeen with a boy I thought I loved who kissed me too rough too heavy too urgent like he had something to prove and it wasn’t about me but I was there. I didn’t think it was a good movie but I cried anyway and I cried again when the sweater he let me take with me to college stopped smelling like him. I still don’t think it is a good movie but I get why it mattered to people and I find myself forgiving it more as I get older, the pitiful shout into the void that it is, the pointless rage against a machine of which it is a part. I haven’t thought about it in a long time but the other day I heard this new Mike Posner song and all I could see was Zach Braff sitting on a couch while the world happens around him.

There is something very uniquely appealing to me about dance songs about sadness. Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”, Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away”, a lot of Tove Lo’s body of work, almost all of Sia’s – these are all songs about pain, from the gaping wounds to the paper cuts, all of the varieties of hurt that exist, and they are all songs you can dance to. “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” is one of these, and it is a perfectly crafted song, because it sounds exactly like it feels.

They said “tell us how to make it cause we’re getting real impatient”
So I looked ’em in the eye and said

You don’t wanna be high like me
Never really knowing why like me
You don’t ever wanna step off that roller coaster and be all alone
You don’t wanna ride the bus like this
Never knowing who to trust like this
You don’t wanna be stuck up on that stage singing
Stuck up on that stage singing
All I know are sad songs, sad songs

There are days when writing hurts me more than it helps, when it feels like I am dragging my organs out of my body through my mouth and when I get them out into the light it wasn’t even worth it. There are days when I am convinced that everything I have written and will write is garbage. I am not alone in this; this is not a unique feeling, but it is very isolating, isn’t it? To be convinced of your own terribleness is a weird and addicting form of narcissism, poking at a bruise to watch it bloom purple, I don’t know. But the thing about it is – even when I feel like I am a terrible writer, that my writing is vain and self-serving at best and vain and self-serving and poorly written at worst, what do I do? I keep writing. I don’t know how not to write, so I keep writing. I write that I feel terrible about writing, that I hate writing, that I am sad and alone in the world when I am neither. This is why I forgive Garden State now; this is why I love “ITAPII”. Sometimes the thing that keeps you alive, the only thing that makes you happy, doesn’t really make you all that happy. Sometimes it doesn’t make you want to live. But it is the only thing you have, so what do you do? You make it self-referential, you keep digging it out of yourself. Mike Posner is disillusioned and lonely and tired of making music but he knows it makes him happy, he knows it’s what he is for, and so he wrote a song about it.

I’m just a singer who already blew his shot
I get along with old-timers ’cause my name’s a reminder
of a pop song people forgot
and I can’t keep a girl, no
‘Cause as soon as the sun comes up
I cut ’em all loose and work’s my excuse but the truth is I can’t open up

I think it’s easier to talk about pain in a dance song because people don’t listen as hard; people don’t expect it to be sad. You don’t listen to the Ryan Adams cover of “Shake It Off” if you’re in a good mood, is what I mean. So when Mike Posner calls himself a one-hit wonder, when he says the truth is I can’t open up it almost gets lost, sounds like a throwaway line because he needed a rhyme, and I think that’s how he was able to let himself say it. The original song was an acoustic number, a little ditty with a voice and a guitar and nothing else, but that’s not the song that’s on the radio. Mike Posner decided he was ready for people to hear him again but he wasn’t ready to be quite so honest with it, and so – this remix.

This song feels like sitting on the couch while the world happens around you. It feels like dancing alone in a crowded room watching someone you used to love kiss another girl. It feels like closing your eyes and giving in to your sadness, just for a minute, letting it pour into you and fill you tip to toe and somehow, ultimately, it feels like a kind of happiness. All I know are sad songs, but some of them you can dance to, and that is enough.

In (a Kind of) Memoriam: School of Seven Bells’ “SVIIB”

“Confusion” is the name of the penultimate track on School of Seven Bells’ SVIIB, and although it comes near the end of the album, it is the clearest encapsulation of SVIIB as a whole — a delicate, emotional paean. This album is the two-member group’s final record: guitarist and co-writer Benjamin Curtis died of lymphoma in 2013, halfway through the creation of SVIIB.

Now that you’ve been armed with this knowledge, you’re going to read this album in a certain way, picking it apart and finding the death in it, hidden beneath gentle ethereality. You’re going to find the sadness in its beauty, to notice how so many of its songs end on a single, poignant note. And once you know, is it possible to divorce yourself from that knowledge, to keep from applying it where it doesn’t belong? It’s hard to say. Some tracks, like “On My Heart”, seem to be more a reaction to ending a romantic relationship. The sharp sting of jealousy in lines like You won’t give her the ground, just forget her puts it clearly in context. This song isn’t about dying at all! It’s upbeat, but biting and confused. What are we now? At the same time, you get a sense of the unending in the repetition at the end of the song: With me, your love’s safe. It’s not a stretch to say that What are we now? is a question in two contexts — what are we now that you’re gone? What do we mean by gone?

Alejandra Deheza and Benjamin began their musical relationship in tandem with a romantic one. That romance ended before Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer, developing into a more platonic partnership — best friends and c0-creators. While “On My Heart” reigns as one of the most upbeat, enigmatic tracks on the album, others read like melancholic odes — “Elias” and “Confusion” are some of the more mournful of the bunch. “Elias” is nostalgic, focusing on specific moments and memories, and “Confusion” is a sweeping representation of SVIIB’s (theorized) thesis.

“Confusion” washes over you, bathing you in somber synths. It’s a lullaby, singing you to sleep — whatever that sleep may be. Assuming an assured tone, breathing in and out with every change of a note, Alejandra sings, over and over — again, finding the unending in these repetitions — Confusion weighs heavy/And I understand/Nothing of these changes/Changes, these changes. She reverbs and repeats so much that you don’t know what’s real and what’s just an echo.

The song takes forever to fade out, the instrumentals persisting long after Alejandra’s vocals end. You know that she’s playing you to sleep, but she’s waiting for that explanation — waiting for the confusion to clear. She’s not demanding or sad, but she seems almost haunted as she comforts you, watching you drift off into the ether.

While you should listen to “Confusion” last, if you can, “Music Takes Me” provides a good follow-up — a middle ground between School of Seven Bells’ most somber and most optimistic pieces. The steady, solid synths feel, to me, like they are attempting to discover the unknowable. I feel you as I breathe, sing the songs you sang to me/I hear you in my sleep/Seeing you with me as I dream. Magic and mystery prevail, the song showcasing psychedelics and 80’s new wave at the same time. And just when you think it’s all over, the synths melt into elongated, distorted guitar notes, a smoother hum emerges, and the song’s meter shifts, almost imperceptibly, into an uncomfortable 2/6. But soon the idyllic 4/4 returns to soothe us, and Alejandra’s voice fades out with her background music.

The greatest aspect of this album — and when I say great, I mean the largest, grandest, most all-encompassing aspect — is that it’s not sad, exactly, or angry, or even understandable, all reasonable things to expect from an album assumed to be about a loss. It’s tinged with so many different things, sadness and yearning — hints here and there — but ultimately it is a eulogy for something we can’t quite grasp. The greatest aspect of this album is its explanation of death, which is an enigma, neither positive nor negative. It just is.

You can listen to SVIIB in full on NPR’s First Listen, found here.


Carson is a 23-year-old who discovered the joys of the Backstreet Boys two years ago, when she fell down a pink fur-lined rabbit hole into the world of pop. She has since taken it upon herself to make an exodus into the underbelly of the glitter-covered beast. You can find her Spotify account here and you can also find her on Tumblr

These Are Not Sonnets. Or, “honey babe”

1

You, Judy Blume, Marriage Equality.
Truly,
the great comic triumph of our time.
Three days of summer,
Three days as if kicked straight from the stars
a big fat fandango, cherry lips crack ribs
stupid good stupid pretty stupid sweet,
You kissed me.
You had me, I knew you.
In the morning I went home,
and Judy Blume touched my arm.
She, who changed my life and
mind when it was barely formed and she
who taught me how to love inside a body,
(about masturbation and mothers
and best friends and blood)
she wrote my name by hand and
you were the only person I cared to tell,
and when the sun rose again, then, it
rose on a country where women could
marry women and men could
marry men in every state and every
corner by the rule of the court and my
sweet friend cried on the phone so
I was sorry amid my joy that I couldn’t
kiss his head and my clever friend said
“so, was the sex really so good it changed the nation?”
and all my thoughts that day were purple
prose and all my purple prose for you and
Three days. That was three days.
And, it’s the kiss. So I can’t breathe.
I can laugh big and hard as I’d like
and still —
now when I leave work sick to
cry in my car about how it felt
to run my finger in an s behind your ear —
it always will be.
Even thighs pressed so tight, in
work pants knock-kneed,
tripping to stay together I fear
I know that anyone
can taste the scent of me.
I know this slickness never seemed so toxic.
And I remember. Lactic acid.
Paint and flags all
in the streets
and crying, and
Judy Blume
and you.

2

Once
When it was hot
I was wearing a romper.
I provide this detail here to set the stage, please,
let none of us forget that I am prone to
abominable judgment,
that I was perfectly naked in a port-a-potty
when I had to pee, and that I was perfectly thrilled
every single second you were around me just around me
(“I feel fine anytime she’s around me now, and she’s around me now, almost all the time,” – James Taylor. You know because in the grass I told you all the songs that make me cry. I’ve wanted to dance to something in the way she moves at my wedding since I was too small to dance in any other way but atop someone’s feet and and still I had to bother formally coming out.)
had your hands around me and, all right,
the point is it was beautiful that night
I guess the point is that
I love you
More than strawberritas or snowflakes
or “Sweet Baby James.”
I guess the point is saved to my iPhone
is a picture where I can see
my own petals opening up greedy sugared swollen spring
like in the Georgia O’Keeffe paintings that I buy as six by six calendar prints to make a lazy and tasteless joke about vaginas, then hang on my wall as an ironic statement about my own overinflated, underused intellect– No, well.
I can look now and see us rising in the twilight
and all our teeth.
This is the part — you remember — where
our legs touch all the way from hip to foot while
You say that I am going to fall in love with you.
It’s near dark and I’m wearing a romper and
you don’t pause to say the words slow, you
say it like a fact. Like a threat.
You are going to fall in love with me.
it is July,
and I have known threats and
I have been hit and I have lost teeth on
ladder rungs of simple climbs and I don’t
put my hands out toward hurricanes and
I believe that it is good and smart to
close your fist and jaw and heart, and fear,
and I will not be trod on I say I
will never melt I have just the barb I
do not allow my heartbeat
to fall into perfect unison with another because
now they have just the trick to stop it just the trick
you’ll unlearn your hard-won skill for
punching on and on
and on alone brave red chambers alone,
no key, and I have never been easy and I
(I, so easy, I, made of pink play sand & peeling Elmers glue, I, all yours)
am, anyway, frantically grateful that you were right.

3

Joni Mitchell is sick.

I know this, but a gray man tells me it the way they do, when he stretches his hands out from his overcoat to pay. I know. “But, god. Blue.” This, we breathe at the same time, like a matching set of misassembled dolls, separate but the same. And in the hidden camera show of life this makes perfect sense, sharing from the stomach on a Sunday a wound that knows no demographic.

I
could drink
a
case
of you

He actually mouths it there in infinitely accidental mercy, with eyes closed. Now I don’t have to.

I iron my hair but not my clothing. A lot of that I’ve given away. A red dress from the fourth of july that made me ill to touch. I walk and walk and curl in and out of situps on the carpet until my middle screams. I shop for products to make my face look like someone else’s. Make oatmeal in the microwave with tap water then spoon it into the trash. I put the birthday card I won’t give inside a book I’ve read to breaking. I put the blazer that my mother bought me over the shirt that I am more alive under because it feels like your eyes on me, which was like the burst and fade of light from fireworks which is like bathwater set so the metal spout can burn. I put my hands in the pockets of my jacket sometimes to keep them still because even now even after even in the cold and the dark of your stepping from my locked arms my head appears suddenly bobbing above the water and I float away on the ecstatic luck of a love so vital as to sing all the same even without its partner. And then I turn on the car and drive.

But other times
I listen to Blue.

4

double-u double-u double-u  dot fragrantica dot com is a wealth of poetics, ephemera, is art for whatever that’s worth. “this smells like high school” “synthetic in a good way” “say what you want about this one, women like it” because scent is the basest sensory experience, because there are no words for the way I unfold from the center when you — or a college football player with a similar looking medicine cabinet, now, and oh, this makes me mad– walk by. The English language has not advanced that far. It won’t. But these men with lines shaved in their faces in their perfume website profile picture say they get compliments all day when they wear it, that on the streets after the gym the masses flock forward, needful, compelled, and so I breathe out jagged, sniff right back hungry, say it’s only science when I cry at Sephora.

5

Oh

But I do love boys who love Bob Dylan
And my mother loves Bob Dylan
And I love boys who love Bob Dylan who are
so much softer than they realize, who have taken sensitivity as a pose of intellect, who believe they have a handle on the way the moon moves with just their sweet pink brains, I can
I can talk to a Dylan boy at a party and feel impossible tenderness that does not sour

But we are sad
I may finally say

with my mouth wrapped on a plastic cup and my eyes on a girl across the room. Eventually, I will have to. Can’t you hear in your own voice that you are broken? Here we are, everyday, wading through. Dear one, you. Aren’t you tired, always, from pretending to win? It only happens, then happens. We can’t stop it and we chase it and I have been so happy I have holes in my teeth now. But I do love boys who love Bob Dylan who can’t see the way their own body has rebuilt itself around the cellular understanding they heard and found and held, the truth that beneath everything is the sorrow of its absence. It is always coming and so it is always there, the throb. The wet line down each bone waits to weep and this is what allows for all the rest to matter. The slow mornings painted a supernatural sleepy green. Beer soaked summer sun fat with possibility, salt tongues, barked laughs, the spectacular stupidity of human skin, alive, exploding on contact, not the last or only organ I wished I could rip forth and give. Streetlamp light through a high up window framing the mouth shapes, starts and stops, on the only face I’d ever need to see again. The fraction of a second, hanging in exalt forever, of her hand moving from the steering wheel to my leg. Always, always the goodbye hangs on the doorframe a long-limbed joker like the boys in the bright rooms who love queen jane. They don’t know, I don’t know and we are only falling. I can’t regret having been swallowed whole.

6

I spent money on heavy shoes
a navy velvet jacket
pretzel cheddar cheese combos
39 ounces of diet coke in styrofoam
tall socks cause my feet hurt
a t-shirt bearing a politically pointed joke
three kinds of chapstick
a book of mean poems
a book of kind advice
a book about Dickensian lesbian thieves
silver hoop earrings silver hoop earrings
silver
hoop earrings
professional removal of hair from my eyebrows
serum that stings so I stay young forever,
a horrifying prospect,
Taco Bell
red wine, ad nauseum
and
toilet bowl cleaner
an Adele song
new underwear with candy colored stripes to replace the pairs her dog ate

It hasn’t helped.

7

I may never see the rest of Making a Murderer
or find a use for my cold hands that I prefer to
sneaking them in against the small of her back.
I don’t imagine I’ll order steak over the telephone or
say Serendipity is stupid and mean it or
drive that stretch of highway easy,
and I’ll drive that stretch of highway daily, or
sleep to the sound of her breathing, no. That’s
too much I won’t say it,
or sleep,
or –probably– get the blood stain out of those sweatpants
(on Sunday I cried because I got a blood stain on those sweatpants)
Or think of Lizzie McGuire the same way
Or move first in my mind to my late grandmother when I crack a Miller Lite

8

It was never actually  insane, except the taste of it.

I didn’t know before and that is so funny, like, all right I’m stupid. I throat laugh I ache I can’t believe my body now when it moves through my days, I can’t. And when we laughed I knew had bones in me, but I’m not just sharpness now I am not my skin but I like what it feels like to be touched. I do! Okay okay because I can ride in the front on the highway and I know the songs. I can hold hands. I made myself a liar by all the old rules made for safety because of how I don’t even squirm. I don’t want to crawl from under my wanting, don’t even itch about it. A miracle a spectacle a flicker flame of trust that burned down an iron cage. I never want to breathe anybody else and I leave big tips when I pick up dinner. Only sometimes. Usually she pays. Paid. I am me. I am magnanimous I am crying I am the divine sickly head rush before the starting tone sounds in a swim race, leaning forward tight and waiting to give over to the chlorine burn, the man made chill, the muscles thumping, the heart that heart. I don’t really understand. I am delirious for wanting and beside myself for getting. So, the loss. The loss is already more. I am already too far. I am laughing because one night late and bare there together all wet and made more water just crying just moving through the feeling I didn’t care. I have so many small notebooks of secrets in my entrails, up my spine, in the jumping blue veins at my elbow. I am only all that ever happened to me, and everything I’ve done, and now like nothing I put my head in her lap and tell. Or I try. Or I like to. Or I want to. I’m bent. I say yes with all of me my bottom bloody belly is yes and all my breaths. Yes out my pores yes I need I want I love I can I rest I suck I hold I open my lips I yes, in out, I am, true.

Some days I can live on the ouroboros of my love alone. The whole of me, the hole in me is full with how I see you all in shades of gold, true good, true bright, I’m nodding now, I mean it. It’s okay. Some days I can feel the lining of my stomach wearing thin and wearing through. I can feel the pieces of myself you took away by accident. I can’t be sure you even wanted them; they’re gone. I search with fingertips top to bottom for nothing. Since the first, or anyway the start of the undoing,
the becoming
the woman,
there have been stretch marks on my breasts.
Quivering white tears
of tiny failure
or, alternately
the joke of the flesh that allowed me to put on
falsely like a silk gown
for dressing or shoes for dancing or a masquerade
the pose of an older woman
freed from and unfettered by
(Finally.)
the strangeness of the body
the climbing bile of shame.

It makes no sense, I told all the girls who saw them. The girls that looked at me, prodding pink. I am made from all the smallest of humilities. And mostly hollows.

Now, I know
that my girl body long ago away in years and bends
was ready for how
your presence would stretch
the machine in my chest
to breaking, to brilliance, to greater than skin
breaking
and so made scars
And marked the conquered terrain
so any new flavor I might seek
would see how I had torn

Dear, fox-faced, flint and cashmere Taylor Swift writes too many breakup songs say the bored and boring who are already dead but are paid to write about culture, and I suppose they have never known the exquisite horror that floods the days that come after a love you were so certain of keeping that it seeped into your best kidney and your sweetmeats and bedsheets and your favorite jeans becomes a love you remember but can no longer hold. Taylor Swift is enormously wealthy and famous because a pain like that is not eradicated from the body when it is named aloud but rather the words — and the cry quite unlike words for how it is too much of the body too much of the blood and throat sludge — must repeat on and on and over, a call to arms, to god, a zealot’s prayer, a mystic’s mantra, a superstition whisper-hummed against the bathroom floor where cat litter digs into your cheek pressed on the cool tile. I ache I ache I ache.

When I sleep now, we are together, euphemistically, and in the flesh from end to end, from sweat snarled nape to tattooed ankle, and all the mixed up pieces in between, mine or yours mine and yours yours on mine mine in yours, but the room begins to burn as I wake.

9

I skipped an Eileen Myles reading I had been counting down the days til so we could buy wine down the street and smoke out the window and watch an Australian children’s television show about teenage mermaids and be naked together in dark sheets so I could press my mouth to every heat source you were blessed with and shiver at the truly startling prospect that the cruel and wild universe would allow me to feel so whole, or your hair to be so soft.

I am not won’t be was never sorry and today I would choose you, too.
I am not won’t be was never sorry and today I need you, too.

I skipped an Eileen Myles reading I had been counting down the days til so I could pick the sunburn scabs from your back and I only want to write on the wall in plain block letters we will see in slow blink tandem if ever both our glances fall again on the spot where once we were in love that, whatever else, I didn’t think twice.