Friday, June 12, 2009


This morning I woke up and had three consecutive thoughts: I need peanut butter, I need coffee, and I am generally repulsed by songs with the words "dream" and "believe" in them. There was a song that came on the radio the other day and the first four lines (and I am not kidding) had the words "dream" "believe" "rainbow" and "love." I don't know what song this was. It was on a top 40 station that my daughters insist we listen to, and each one of those words hit me like tiny, sappy fists. "Dream" - ouch! "Believe" - ow! Dear God no, not in the next line! "Rainbow" - Aaaaah! Make it stop! "Love" - couldn't you people have spaced this shit out??? It was like someone took the songs "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Wind Beneath My Wings" and put them in a blender.

So in my advanced, lyrical snootiness what words do I prefer? Lately I've been digging some lines form the Black Eyed Peas song "Boom Boom Pow."

I like that boom boom pow
Them chickens jackin' my style
They try to copy my swagger
I'm on that next shit now

The words "Them chickens jackin' my style" and "copy my swagger" make me laugh every time. I swear, if I'm ever plagiarized my statement to the press will be "Them chickens jackin' my style." And there's something so charming about the word "swagger." I imagine a jaunty little man sashaying confidently down the street. It's got dignity with a bit rauchiness to it. One of the next lines "I'm a beast when you turn me on/Into the future cybertron" is also great fun. I think it's the words "I'm a beast" and "future cybertron." What's not to love?

But to step back from my theory for a bit (the theory being that songs about dreams and rainbows that are not sung by Kermit the Frog are lame, and songs with future cybertron beast chickens are infinitely superior), I know that songs about love and hope are meant to speak to a wdie audience who like a direct message. Usually about love and hope.

Al-anon program slogans are like this. At first I cringed at them because they're little cliches, like "One day at a time" and "But for the grace of God" and "Easy does it." But they're not meant for their literary greatness. They're meant to help as many people through the day as possible. I know that the song "I Believe I Can Fly" touched many a soul, even though it made me put my hands over my ears and go, "Noooo! Make it stop!" At the time I much preffered songs Warren Zevon songs like "Something Bad Happened to a Clown." And honestly I think that no matter how emotionally healthy I become I probably always will.

And now, for something seemingly contradictary. The poem that I am about to share (indeed, most poeple have the same reaction to the word "poetry" that I have to the word "rainbowlovedream" but those people have no idea what a raunchy beast a poem can be), does have the word "clouds" in it, which often times implies a cliche, but this does not. Also, do not be turned off by the fact that the title is "The Journey." I was at first. Then I read it and it has now taken a hold over me for reasons that will become obvious if you know me very well at this point in my life. If you don't, then it's still a good poem and might speak to you. It's got a general massage meant for a general audience. If you're an originality snob like I am and don't like thinking of yourself as part of a general audince, then do what I do. Just think of yourself as "The General."

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.


Christy said...

Love the poem.

And the Black-Eyed Peas.

melissa bastian. said...

Oh but Gen. I believe you can fly. I believe you can touch the sky. The sky filled with rainbows, emerging from dreamy clouds. Because you're levitated by love.

Alright, now we just gotta put that to a catchy 4/4 melody, and we're **GoLdEn** !!

Genevieve said...

Hee hee...because I'm levitated by love. Ass! (said affectionately)

Tom said...

Hey, I just came to check out this blog because I heard there was some writer chick here that could levitate or something. All I see are sheets and clouds! What is this?!

I like the end, "the only life you could save" part. 4 srsly.