eternal feminine difficulties

My Sparrow Hath No Tongue
Originally uploaded by cabbit.

Two torrents containing a total of nearly one thousand free songs from bands at the 2006 SXSW Music Conference.

Being with a ghost is hard. It’s tricky, navigating the pathways that carry the least number of rattling chains. I confuse him he says, just like the last few. They think they know themselves, then I come along. “Sometimes I want you to just leave me alone, but whenever I’m with you it all goes away and I’m just comfortable, you know? It’s weird. You’re weird.” He’s telling me this on his cell phone, attempting to be locked in some small room, his foot against the door to keep out his friends. I shouldn’t even be on the phone right now. You make me feel safe, I told him another night. He quotes me, “That’s what you do,” he says. Like you said and I said and he has no memory. No memory at all. It drains away daily. He tells me that he’s worried, that he’s scared, but he doesn’t say he loves me. That’s my line, spoken to the dark when he’s asleep, when he’s awake but not quite paying attention. He says I found him at a strange time. I stole him out into monogamy and being crazy just when his life started again, and he likes it, he digs me a whole lot, but he can’t shake the feeling of bad timing. The same you’re awesome but as everyone else. I can’t help it, this terrifying dream. I’m afraid this will end in another You Can’t See Me.

Streaming audio: Magnetic Fields, an hour of live concert.

Fresh in my mind, his rambling nervous phone-call, scratchy over the line. I don’t think I could take that. I can feel he’s convincing himself of something, but not a decision I can quite access. The story hasn’t enough pieces for me to draw into words, there are gaps, milk-teeth spaces that I need to fill in. I told him I’d call at one. An hour and half, I’d said, to give him time to figure out where he’ll be. “Do you want to come over?” and Yes, in a small voice. A tiny admittal voice, one that’s scared of seeing where it’s been leading. Then, No, wait, I didn’t say that like that, though I did, and you know I did, and you know what that means. I just don’t want you barking up the wrong tree. When I called, he didn’t pick up.

One MP3 a day for one year. Archived bi-weekly. Produced in 2003.

Part of it is that he can’t figure out why I like him, not the way I do. I should be more upset or less patient, less accepting. He goes on about it. Not that liking him is all that strange, I’m sure he has the same sort of line-up as I do, ghost or no. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. No, he thinks his life is unusual, that his insides are crazy and strange. Well they might be, but I’m not in any position to see. I’ve learned over time that I’ve got blinders to socially abnormal behaviour that makes sense. Apparently most girls, they fade away, maybe in a musty cloud of arguements and perfume, when he’s not around as much as they want him to be. Me, it’s more than I have and almost as much as I need.

Top 65 Songs of 2005: 65-26, as picked by the clever Good Weather For An Airstrike.

(((awakening in a tiki ballroom))

Kyle and I crept down the familiar black wood stairs behind the bar, “Want to see where I go when I pull my ghost act?”, and came out into the vast industrial vintage kitchen that dominates a third of the basement. I’m familiar with this place, but in the dark, everything looks different, as if the room is religiously slumbering, waiting for a second coming of a sacred pastry chef.

Exiting the kitchen into the hall, where the bar is, to the left is the entrance to a low thatched ceiling Tiki Banquet room, all low slung chairs piled haphazardly and woven bamboo walls, and to the right is the entrance to the Polynesian Ballroom which, when the lights are on, is dominated by a long colourful mural put up somewhere in the late forties, the sort of thing you tend to only see in movies unless you live in L.A. or San Francisco. However, it being somewhere close to two:thirty in the morning, the place was abandoned. In the dark, the mural is ignored in favour of the elegant farthest wall, made almost entirely of black and white glass.

This is what we walked into, the stained glass our only source of light, transforming the ballroom into a warm cavern of a room, dark as unwashed velvet. It was a movie moment, a cinematic young girl’s dream of where she’d lose her virginity.

We were talking about fathers and how they’re different from dads. How I’d had one of each as time progressed and how both of them were eventually terrible. I settled our things, strawberries, alcohol, his back-pack, three layers of our jackets, on one of the black tables scattered around the room as Kyle went up onto the balcony and fiddled with switches until he’d found us an unassuming light. The green carpet glowed.

My head in his lap, his hand in mine, my eyes slowly closing with exhaustion, we talked about the shattered crystal balls that were our childhoods. How our hell-raising had taken entirely different forms. Mine almost entirely after dark and secretive, away from my mother, his open to the point where his mother had to fight to keep him out of special schools. We swung ridiculously between being serious, out-pouring our personal history of hurts, and laughing at the futility of the human race. We both want to leave this place better than we found it. When the ice-age comes, if we’re not colonizing the stars yet, we’ll be standing on the side, waving flags and rooting for the Earth.

If you call it love, we’ll cut you.

She sang to herself, as she waited, about the death of dreaming trees. She was almost asleep, but she still smiled when she heard him singing in reply from the next room. When he returned, he’d found she’d shifted from lying on the couch to lying on one of the shining black tables scattered around the room. His reaction was delightful to her, an outburst of sweet awe-struck vehemence so gratifying that it occured to her that she might take up lying on chilly tables in dimly lit rooms as a hobby for the rest of her life.