I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, Richard Brautigan
I was trying to describe you to someone a few days ago. You don’t look like any girl I’ve ever seen before.
I couldn’t say “Well she looks just like Jane Fonda, except that she’s got red hair, and her mouth is different and of course, she’s not a movie star…”
I couldn’t say that because you don’t look like Jane Fonda at all.
I finally ended up describing you as a movie I saw when I was a child in Tacoma Washington. I guess I saw it in 1941 or 42, somewhere in there. I think I was seven, or eight, or six.
It was a movie about rural electrification, a perfect 1930’s New Deal morality kind of movie to show kids. The movie was about farmers living in the country without electricity. They had to use lanterns to see by at night, for sewing and reading, and they didn’t have any appliances like toasters or washing machines, and they couldn’t listen to the radio. They built a dam with big electric generators and they put poles across the countryside and strung wire over fields and pastures.
There was an incredible heroic dimension that came from the simple putting up of poles for the wires to travel along. They looked ancient and modern at the same time.
Then the movie showed electricity like a young Greek god, coming to the farmer to take away forever the dark ways of his life. Suddenly, religiously, with the throwing of a switch, the farmer had electric lights to see by when he milked his cows in the early black winter mornings. The farmer’s family got to listen to the radio and have a toaster and lots of bright lights to sew dresses and read the newspaper by.
It was really a fantastic movie and excited me like listening to the Star Spangled Banner, or seeing photographs of President Roosevelt, or hearing him on the radio “… the President of the United States… ”
I wanted electricity to go everywhere in the world. I wanted all the farmers in the world to be able to listen to President Roosevelt on the radio….
“There must always be the bite of
the creek’s smell. The face of the man
I loved when he was asleep. I worry
that talking about it will turn
these sentences into words
instead of the experience. I want to keep
the real world that is inside me,
and its stillness.”—“The Other Excitement” by Linda Gregg (via aclockwithouthands) (via crashinglybeautiful)
It is snowing heavily again. I have been watching it for a long time the way a blind man looks at the world on the back of his eyelids. Something I wanted in my hands is not there, and I hear the soft cry of the flakes approaching. Trapped among branches, it sounds as if I have lost someone and have reached up to find that same whiteness on my mouth, plunging into itself without me.
Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell anybody anything” is a string of words I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract by laser from the ribcage of all of us who ever believed it, who felt afraid to miss someone, to be the last one standing. “Tell everyone everything” is not exactly right, but I do believe that if your mother looks radiant in violet you should tell her, or when a juvenile sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes, you should say so. We are islands all of us, but we are also boats, our secrets flares, pyrotechnic devices by which we signal there’s someone in here we’re still alive! So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers, wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up a prototype right now, that burning ball of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything we dream the morning after, even if we fall into the sea—we are boats, remember? We are pirates. We move in nautical miles. Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys, the rocket’s red, already the world entire.
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between
I am not the sum of this, but slowly over the years I edit less events, I give a less sanitised history. I am happier as the past falls away; and with a partial lunar eclipse I’ve been writing down more memories; reading old poems and wondering where they belong.
I write down the truth and what the truth becomes: a shape shifter smoked out by a face in the street, a word snatched out of someone else’s mouth, colour changed by unlikely concepts like forgiveness and love.
There are countless great punk bands. There always have been countless great punk bands. There always will be. Punk rock is in a constant state of renewal and reinvention. A hydra built on frustration and ineptitude and loathing and hope and love, both immutable and transitory, obsessed with sincerity and silliness, aping the Ramones, ripping apart The Germs, building up the Circle Jerks, shredding the Minutemen or Husker Du or The Dicks, leaping from Crimpshrine with a line wound tight in its heart and spit in its eye, screeching vindictive oblivion over riffs stolen from F.Y.P., throwing the best parts of The Clash into a huge giant clustering fuck of melody and power, poetry and bile and dumb fucking attitude. Punk rock is dying, dead, birthing, alive in every single 4-beat count-off and song sung like it was the last one. And the most interesting stuff to me will always be what’s going on right now because it’s fresh, fresh as a wound, and falling over itself because it doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s a van full of kids in the dark and there’s a show somewhere out there full of people who also know the words to Propagandhi songs.
I meet you at a time of drowning. A Tuesday, sinking. I know right away from across the room, and when I go to bed with your Sea King song in my ears. My limbs thrash and the ocean is a storm, my hands tangle in your crown of curls.
I rest like a pearl in a shell.
I come to you in waves. Every time we make love, erosion.
My white skin only sees the sun underwater. Tattooed with squid ink, I am Chinese porcelain, hand painted with blue.
I scoop up the ocean with the moon as a cup, overflowing. I use a broken silver piece to write pleas to the sky in the sand. Will you see them reflected in clouds from the bottom of the ocean?
A wave crashes over my tongue, my face wears a mask of salt, I’m covered with sand and naked grief.
I crawled out of the ocean for you.
I place shells along your spine, at your ears and mouth, over your eyes. I rise up like a whisper. The ocean shudders over us. You turn to me in your sleep and my face is wet and I’m singing, you’re home, home, home.
“You have now read a series of statements but have you really understood? Your conditioned mind, your way of life, the whole structure of the society in which you live, prevent you from looking at a fact and being entirely free from it immediately. You say, “I will think about it; I will consider whether it is possible to be free from violence or not. I will try to be free.” That is one of the most dreadful statements you can make, “I will try.” There is no trying, no doing your best. Either you do it or you don’t do it. You are admitting time while the house is burning. The house is burning as a result of the violence throughout the world and in yourself and you say, “Let me think about it. Which ideology is best to put out the fire?” When the house is on fire, do you argue about the color of the hair of the man who brings the water?”—J. Krishnamurti in Freedom from the Known (via predatorywaspobserver) (via crashinglybeautiful)
“You have lived in thought; that is,
you have given tremendous importance to thinking.
But thinking is old; thinking is never new;
thinking is the continuation of memory.
If you have lived there,
obviously there is some kind of continuity.
And it is a continuity that is dead, over, finished.”—J. Krishnamurti, from talks in Europe 1968, May 19, 1968, Amsterdam (via paynehollow) (via crashinglybeautiful)