Open your mouth up and sing for me now

April 15th, 2008

Q: Can a person experience mind-numbing frustration and complete happiness at the very same time?

A: Indubitably, yes.

Work = insane and pretty damn horrible.

Sleep = absent and allusive. Hooray for insomnia!

Everything else = okay through to pretty damn wonderful.

I wonder – does having the good make the bad feel worse, or does it make it bearable? I’m going with the latter.

You know you’ve watched a lot of Bargain Hunt when you realise you’ve seen the one with the plaster heads set on blue velvet before.

I was working on a big post tonight and I was going to get it done, really I was, but then I got distracted. Somehow I ended up at my CD shelves, trying to sort out my A to Bs because somehow (well, not somehow, I know how) they got all muddled and stacked in front of the fish tank, rather than in alphabetical order on the shelf like they should be. And then somehow (genuinely somehow, I have no idea) I ended up with Tallahassee by the Mountain Goats in my hands.

I had completely forgotten how much I adore the liner notes for this album. John Darnielle is one of my favourite writers, period. I mean, the dude writes about heavy metal and I read it. Just because of the way he writes. And let’s not even get on to the songs, eh? So anyway, this little bit of writing, by far, is one of my favourite pieces of writing ever. EVER. Fact. Read it and smell the rotting wood and peeling paint, and feel the sun of their summer. You read this and think about the songs No Children or Game Shows Touch Our Lives and you feel like you know these people. You would never want to be these people, because they’re wretched, really, but you feel a genuine empathy for them.

Just because I like to be clear about these things I’ve bolded the parts of this that boggle my mind with how good they are. It is sentences like this that inspire me to write.

We came into town under cover of night, because we were pretty sure the people here were going to hate us once they really got to know us. In our lives together, which are sweet in the way of rotting things, it is somehow permanently summer.

THE MOON rose above the trees, older than time, greener than money. You hung your head out the window of our dusty lemon-yellow El Camino and howled, and I turned up the radio, because the sound of your voice was already beginning to get to me. The speakers crackled and the music came through: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Pretty as a midsummer’s morn, they call her Dawn. Let the love of God come and get is if it wants us so bad. We know were we are going when all of this is done.

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY that buying a house you’ve never actually seen close-up is a bad idea, but what does anybody know about our needs, anyhow? For us it was perfect. The peeling paint. The old cellar. The garden in the back. The porch out front. The still air of the living room. The attic. Everywhere entirely unfurnished and doomed to remain largely so, save for our own meager offerings: a cheap sofa, an old mattress, a couple of chairs and some ashtrays. Maybe a table salvaged from some diner gone into bankruptcy, I don’t remember. Neither do you. We drank store-brand gin with fresh lime juice out of plastic cups or straight from the bottle and we spread ourselves out face-up on the wooden floors. An aerial view of us might have suggested that we’d been knocked out, but what we were doing was staking our claim. Establishing our territories. Making good. Not on the vows we’d made but on the ones we’d really meant. You produced a wallet-sized transistor radio out of nowhere and you found a sympathetic station: somebody was playing Howlin’ Wolf. Smokestack lightning. O yes, I loved you once. O yes, you loved me more. We entered our new house like a virus entering its host. You following me, me following you. However you like. The windows were high and the walls were thick and sturdy. It was hot as blazes. The guts of summer. Always down in the sugar-deep barrel-bottom belly of summer itself. Always. In our shared walk down to the bottom, which bottom we will surely find if only our hearts are brave and our love true enough, we have found that it is somehow invariably and quite permanently summer.


2 Responses to “Open your mouth up and sing for me now”

  1. www.treatsleepingdisorders.info » Blog Archive » Open your mouth up and sing for me now on April 15, 2008 10:50 pm

    [...] Karen wrote a fantastic post today on Open your mouth up and sing for me nowHere’s a quick extractWork = insane and pretty damn horrible. Sleep = absent and allusive. Hooray for insomnia! Everything else = okay through to pretty damn wonderful. I wonder – does having the good make the bad feel worse, or does it make it bearable? … [...]

  2. elemento on April 16, 2008 4:28 am

    Ironic, no, that your spam is hoping to treat your sleeping disorder. I wonder if we can get a bulk discount?

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