I was writing this really serious comparison/contrast between Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge and Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner, which is a very good book, especially the first fourth or so and there are sentences throughout that are stunners ( I was disappointed the narrator didn’t change at all but I think that was a problem of not depicting other characters besides the narrator very roundly or deeply. Oh I really got into it, and I didn’t even say what I just said.) But then I went to band practice and the thought of continuing this essay thing…Ugh. I’d rather talk about music and my night. And so I present what I was listening to on the way home, an album that only ripens, as it’s the perfect critique of hyper-capitalism and love in capitalism and gender stupidity and intelligence and all the music perfectly enacts the lyrics and the lyrics match the music. More Songs About Buildings And Food, folks, by The Talking Heads. Listen to the whole album. All the songs are of a piece.
So many strident, dramatic, in medias res first lines:
Oh baby you can walk, you can talk just like me…if that’s what you want to do.
"Damn that television...what a bad picture!"
"Don’t get upset, It’s not a major disaster."
When I came home from practice, my roommate had just gotten home too. She had been visiting her family in Townsend and was exhausted from driving back in the rainstorm, which was the true rainstorm to break the heat wave. She had had to pull over in the rainstorm and pee in a cup she was telling Little T and me, Big T. (We’re both Tanyas and thusly distinguished thusly) Isn’t this the kind of detail people put in blogs? Like PR for the world? Anyway, there were rainbows I had missed but they had pictures they assured me. J was exhausted but she had a bunch of love letters boys had written her, well mainly one boy, and an all purpose, meaning without dividers! (sic) notebook from ninth grade. On one page is a poem, on the next notes from science (Importance of Rivers) , the next notes from math (“I never leave a radical on the bottom!”), the next from Spanish (Hispanic Location: Costa Rica..visited during: Spring Vacation…enjoyed: the animals, beautiful water( (la agua fuy muy bonita)), the people)…future plans to see people: next verano), the next from math (**All repeating numbers are rational!), songs lyrics (Hold me/Like the River Jordan), notes from science, you get the idea, then a draft of a long break up letter which might have only served as preparation for a pretty intense breakup (As you will see, J. had some Loves.) I won’t include the letter, but I will a little of everything else. Forget about the Notebooks of Malte, here is the notebook of my roommate, J.
But first a love poem:
My soul cries every time we depart
I leave a piece of myself each time+
Sex with you is provocative
I always raise an eyebrow at the display++
+++But you always satisfy
In your arms I feel nurtured+++
+++And I do not care for my future or life+
The door to my heart is closed
And the lock has snapped shut+++
Can I please throw away the key?
Apparently, this boy was a Communist. J. was on his record label, Pro-Soviet. She remembers telling her orthodontist about it when she asked her what was going on. J. says from the kitchen, she’s still technically signed…
Here’s another from the same boy is written in Italian. As far as I know, J. doesn’t know any Italian.
Lo so sembra io vado un poco fuori bordo con usare Rancid sui mei nastri, (apparently this letter was accompanied by a mixtape) Io sono sicuro lei puo relate…
It’s just a look, and it makes the boys quiver…
(And I) I call that education
Your mind is ageless
Spinning like a pinwheel
Fueled by the outside
An elder charm
Graced by a youthful heart
Passionate, Sexual, but Pure
You make me feel weak
You make me feel free
And most of all you make me
And from another boy entirely:
No cautions No stop signs
Stealing Hearts But there’s no crime
Sunday one way Now she’s mine
Real thoughts With real connections
Fitting Together On different dimensions
Collaborating ideas Even greater conversations
Late nights and earlier mornings
Constant strength our energies soaring
Having complete attention, never boring
Twilights beauty Infinity visions
There’s genuine love with no decision
Pure emotions truer cause powerful fission
Relentless comfort feels so right
Belonging in my arms, hold you tight
She’s my sweetie love her with all my might
With beautiful beginnings
May there be Never Endings!
The notebook begins with this poem:
Strength has not vanished
Only portions are hidden
To see what devastation has become
Drowning in its own tears
If satisfied to be a desert
Without bothering the sky to shed
The wind would not feel as brisk
Troposphere (surrounded by many inky stars)
We’re here (life)
Temperature gets colder as you go upwards
Strong winds, change in direction
Shooting stars burn up here
fades into space
On the next page is a Venn diagram of East Africa and West Africa, their characteristics and of course,
being a Venn diagram, their mutual characteristics in the middle, which include animistic beliefs and traditional religious customs .
On a torn off page: “The teacher wouldn’t let me go back to my locker until Andy got back!”
J. is saying now that this high school History teacher had a heart attack in class and died right there in front of the students. History. It was heavy. And that a clock fell off the wall onto another teacher’s head and gave her a concussion. All the kids laughed. She had yanked the projector screen a little too vigorously, and it shot up and knocked the clock off the wall.
About here my computer screen went blank. I was supposed to get my blog up and end my week blogging for BAP! …so I went out for a cocktail where my friends discussed the proper spelling of Olive Oyl the Hindi remake of Dead Poets Society called Mohabbatein, which translates as Loves (?) and GQ tips for better cunnilingus.
I am really grateful to Stacey for letting me post this late and to the BAP community for letting me blog all week! Go next poet!
Oh wait—I forgot to mention little T’s hair. J. gave her a Victory Roll before they went out. And in case you wanted to know what a snood is…It is not this, but the roll that goes in this is associated with snoods and has a much cooler name, J. says. Also, Tanya was wearing a bikini under her dress because she was hoping to go the beach. Did you have any plans to go to the beach? I ask. No I was just being spontaneous and really hoping the day would take a turn for the beach.
Pictures of rainbows to come?
I don’t have to prove that I am creative.
The girls are getting into abstract analysis
They want to make an intuitive leap
And the girls want to be with the girls
And the boys say what do you mean?
And then the heartbreaking “I’m Not in Love”:
What is? Brand new? Well that’s not the way
I think of you.
You’ll touch me, in a minute; but that’s not what I want to do….
Some day, I believe, we can live in a world without love