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Message to Readers

feedback appreciated


January 28, 2019


if i remember badly enough
i’m convinced i was happy:
a broken mind may conceive of the river highway
cars flapping, thrusting through or
occasionally flashing a toothy fist
like salmon dancing through running water;
and gentle music was playing—
i had nearly slept through
the chaotic mashing of rock and roll 
or country’s killer twang
like rust-coated nostalgia.
if i force in sense and taste and
smile, i might forget about
my mind
and then i would forget about what
was buried in there
but i can’t do these things
so i remember it as music:
my mother’s frown unfurling like an inky treble clef;
or else the longevity of the cars—
in this, they were fermatas;
or the smashing, slimy chorus
as my troubles unfurled
after the highway, and i slept
and i watched the screens
and i thought the screen might give me a mind
so as to distract me from the horrors
but instead i was stuck on a
long velvet highway
waterfall of the moon
and everything around me
was a curling fermata.
why did i prolong it?
this is sort of about a spring break i once had where i was driving with my mom.  i was recently remembering it in a nostalgic sort of sense, but i had forgotten about how horribly depressed i had become on that trip.
for those of you who don’t know, a fermata is an expressive mark in music used above a note, usually at the end of a phrase, that can be held out for as long as the musician wishes.  it’s kind of a metaphor.


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  • January 28, 2019 - 6:12pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Johanna


    almost 2 years ago
  • JCWriter

    Once again, this is beautifully written. You have an amazing sense of metaphor.

    almost 2 years ago
  • paperbird

    you know, that's a really good point. i guess i was very fixed on the salmon metaphor because i spent a while revising "cars flapping, thrusting through or / occasionally flashing toothy fist", a line which makes more sense with the aforementioned line. but i realize that these metaphors also distract from the music thing, so i'm probably going to take your advice. thank you! i wouldn't have noticed that. i probably won't publish a new version of this, but i'll edit my copy on docs.

    almost 2 years ago
  • Anha

    woah... this poem was amazingly expressive in itself, but with the background context it becomes infinitely clear the work and analogies you managed to cram into this short piece. the line "my mother’s frown unfurling like an inky treble clef" made me feel like my fingers were starting to stain as i read this? is that weird? all these musical allegories give me a massive nostalgia rush, as a music kid who doesn't have much time for that anymore. in this piece, composed of mostly musical terminology and personal introspective excerpts, i felt the phrase "like salmon dancing through running water" was a bit misplaced and didn't fit in with the overall clambering atmosphere you were creating in the beginning. if you could weave more words about movement or dancing, i think it could work, but as the poem is right now, i believe that the piece would be stronger without it, as it confused me a little when i first read it. love your work, keep at it and do what you love!

    almost 2 years ago
  • paperbird

    thank you!

    almost 2 years ago
  • Julius Caesar

    The metaphor is so brilliantly written and as a musician myself this captured my attention. I'm so glad I read this. I'm sorry to hear that you felt depressed on the trip. Once again, I applaud you on writing this so brilliantly. <3

    almost 2 years ago
  • asteria

    can i like this 100 more times??? magnifique :)

    almost 2 years ago
  • loveletterstosappho

    oh my god i love this piece so so SO much, it's one of my favorite poems of yours now. the title is fitting and you are BRILLIANT.

    almost 2 years ago