Slack Jaw

As a challenge to myself, I have been working on learning one song a month to post at the end of each month of 2020. This first song is a cover of Sylvan Esso’s “Slack Jaw”, mostly learned by ear from listening to their live recordings. A simple song, but one that has always resonated deeply with me. I did make some adjustments for my  voice and skill level, so it’s not an exact replay of their version. I am so very nervous, but I hope you all enjoy!

Hopeful, the Spirit

“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.”

— Nayyirah Waheed

And so the year has turned to its close, and as I heal from wounds of my own choosing, I find myself turning introspective again. Not only of the year, but of the decade. I admit that I started this writing before Christmas, but found the words sticky and unwilling to lend themselves to exactly what I have been feeling. I hope that tonight, I may do them justice.

I suppose it’s a tad cliche to write an introspection. Everyone is doing it, right? I’ve heard grumbles here and there, but for me, it’s an important process. I have to sit and think on things past, so that I may move forward in peace, and with purpose. And to the oak tree, what are the caws of crows but mere distraction in its reaching for the sun?

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Some Personal Poetry

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?

What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Poetry as Insurgent Art”

I am unabashedly in love with poetry of all forms. From the staples of Shakespeare, to the metaphysical meanderings of John Donne, to Poe, Ferlinghetti, Rosetti, Aiken, Plath, Frost… the list could go on. Even the new, viral “short form” poems have a special place in my heart, especially those of Nayyirah Waheed. After all, music has always moved me deeply, and what is poetry but music with prose?

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Mourning in the Digital Age (pt. 2/3)

There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandchild.

–Victor Hugo

After grieving for Sammy throughout most of my childhood, death, at some point, became merely a distant threat again. I thought of him most days, admittedly do even now, but tears had subsided into smiles as painful thoughts became fond memories once more. Plus, going through puberty and then my high school years? I had more than plenty to keep me occupied.

I took death, in, yet again, an abstract sort of way, wrapping myself up in the communities that were Goth and Geek culture in the early aughts. This was not an embrace of death, not fully. More of keeping an enemy at arm’s length. Using the fear as a shield, and then escaping into a digital wonderland when things got too “real.”

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Mourning in the Digital Age (pt. 1/3)

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music

Winter has always been a season of loss for me. The three most impactful deaths in my life all occurred in winter, after all. On a historical and spiritual level, the season is inherently tied to death to begin with, given that for our ancestors, a harsh winter could spell doom. So I suppose it’s only natural. Lately, as I think back to those three I’ve lost, something has struck me in how I’ve processed each one, and how the digital age has changed how I’ve mourned them.

My first exposure to death, true death, was the loss of my cousin Sammy at the age of nine. I know that prior to his death, there were a couple of pets here and there that had crossed the bridge, but my grandmother and mother kept me insulated from what death truly was. It was an abstract concept to my child’s mind. People and animals lived, and then they went away. Less a feeling of loss, and more an absence, and I was already used to people being absent in my life. In that hopeful, childlike way, I thought little about the difference, and overlooked that while absent people may return, the dead do not. At least not in any conventional way…

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