Secret Pop

Dec 22, 2008

Now in Vienna there's ten pretty women

It's cold, and the streets are wet. My winter coat had barely been worn, and it already looks like the weather has had its way with it. Few things manage to remain new. Even things that are black. Maybe especially such things.

Oh I want you, I want you, I want you on a chair with a dead magazine

I had plans of pressing down with greater force in these waning days at the year's end. These are always days I fill with examination and plans. Mostly with little outcome. When the mornings smell of recent fireplaces, and there is never a perfect temperature. If my hands aren't cold, the rest of me is too warm. If the rest of me is cold, my hands are useless. Every hour feels like something I've set free. And as soon as it's gone, I regret the release and weigh it all as waste. This is an apathetic passage in an otherwise apathetic season.

There's a concert hall in Vienna where your mouth had a thousand reviews

I don't go looking for memories so much as I go feeling around in the dark, hoping I won't happen upon something sharp. And I keep everything in such disarray that it's a wonder I manage to stumble on things that are relevant. And yet I do. My fingers are nearly blue, barely visible at the ends of my coat sleeves. It's much safer to listen to songs in French. I both love and loathe the smell of artificial heat.

The hyacinth wild on my shoulder, my mouth on the dew of your thighs

There's so seldom time to reminisce about all the out-of-doors kisses and projects with no purpose and moments of irresistible inspiration. Nor time to act on reminiscences and the inspiration you find in them. I can go back to those places again and again. But they've changed. And I've changed. And I can't just put those clothes back on and have it be the same. I can't even wear my hair that way. I've long since discarded those tresses. I long ago decided there was no beauty there.

And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook, with the photographs there, and the moss

I was telling the story of how I slipped in my socks and fell down the stairs in our house in Japan and how the rest of the family heard me thudding, step after step, and laughed as soon as the falling stopped. They always had greater faith in my resilience than I did. But I managed to stand up and walk again, grudgingly proving them right. If I'd remained at the foot of the stairs, paralyzed forever, they'd eventually have come running to comfort me. Once the blame had been carefully placed.

And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty, my cheap violin and my cross

I prefer it to be cold and sunny if I have to be outside. I've never been to Vienna. But I've listened to Leonard Cohen. A pretty song with a real violin and a synthesized trumpet. It isn't Vienna that I go to when I hear it. But it's a place where you can order schnitzel.

Dec 16, 2008


When I hear dates, I put myself in them. Meaningless markers that are part of the legitimacy of a television script. There is no radius that reaches out to me. But when I hear, "December 2, 2004," I go back to that date in my brain. There is a vague haze of what was going on at that time. If I look it up in the blog archives, I can see that I wrote something about SpongeBob watches at Burger King. (I did end up getting two of them.) But it's nothing so specific. It's just a color code. A flavor of marshmallow that envelops the era. It's a circa.

Time and distance refract all of it, reducing it to the most obvious details. This is what I was wearing. This is what my hair looked like. This is what I wore. This is where I lived. This is what I did for a living. And in the vicinity of these larger points are the more hovery details. A broad brush that paints those eras in one opaque tint. I remember measuring things in moments. And every wall was painted a different color. I remember time seeming both immovable and uncatchable. But now it's all just a field of green. Or blue. Or pink. Or angry, suffocating red.

I hear a date on a TV show, and I react as if the universe is trying to send me a message. The universe is opening a time capsule for me. And I can't help but wish I'd put more things in it. I can't help but wish there were more details and less marshmallow.