poem: when the song is done

For a moment, the song is killing you.
Because it is perfect. Because you remember
the silence before you pressed play, before the music
dragged itself through the speakers, before you
knew how miserable you were without
this sound. This song. This music strains of everything
you’ve been holding in your belly, your chest,
everything you’ve been desperate not to allow to burst,
to bloom into wails at the coffee shop, unable to
explain to the barista what your headphones have done to you.
This song was made for your sorrow, this specific sorrow
from this most exact and exquisite backhand of your life.
This is an Argentine music, with a trio of
violin, piano and cello that makes you curse every day of your life
you had not learned to play all of them, could never express the
strains of this sorrow on your own.
And the grief,
it just hangs…from skin too young to loosen from the bone.
The music is ugly, in the way a lover is once they’ve turned
their back to you, when you know the silence after is all yours,
inelegant, inarticulate, merciless. But dear god, when the music plays,
when it plays, for every moment you’d spent swallowing the burst,
the music is a middle and ring finger at the back of your throat.
And now, for the three minutes and forty-four seconds of this song,
when it retches out of you, it is exactly right.  Every chord is an extracted image of you, convulsing in the shower, frozen under moon, pounding your mattress,
heaving in the car.  These moments are knitted together,
frankensteined by the sound.  The coffee shop is your living room,
the trio playing four feet away while you shudder from the wall,
as if the universe grabbed you by the sternum and roared,
this is why you have dragged yourself this far,
the blood is the paint, the blood is the wine; the reason you’re still here
is to know beyond doubt the day that broke you, to know
that when you’re done hating the fist, no other sorrow in your life
will sound like this.

And you hear.
You hear. It is almost worth it.

For a moment, the song
is over. And it is then that you know,
after all the therapy, the pills, the fucking and the sleep,
you know how long the repeat button has kept you alive.


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