for August 22, 2001
Music Is Your Memory
by Robin Pastorio-Newman
Music is your memory. You live, music is with you. The soundtrack of
your life includes songs you wouldn't choose. Songs you don't even know
will figure into your history. You love them, hate them, treasure them;
they are snapshots of moments you never forget.
Fake Plastic Trees
She aches. She loves him. He moves in, stays a few months, moves out. He
says, "This song is how I feel." She is calm. He will come back. They've
all come back.
They talked all the time. She remembers, later, they understood one
another so completely. Maybe that wasn't real, maybe it was. She recalls
the cocoa scent of his olive skin, his good humor, his gentleness. On
occasion, she sees him rise and assume the air of one who will disable
an attacker if he has to, but he doesn't have to. On other occasions,
she sees him immobilize an enraged person with one word. She doesn't
understand, but she loves him. The song turns.
A cooling feel, the words spread out over some distance. He leaves
again, after a few weeks. This time, her life depends on bringing the
words closer together, asking him some right way to come home. Weeks
pass. She drifts. Even the song spreads itself out so far it might not
come back together. Maybe he won't come home this time. Maybe the song
ends, and takes him with it.
Life Is A Highway
Eventually, he comes home, but he doesn't love her. It is a hot day. He
finally takes her, driving the moving van, to meet his family. On the
Parkway, a song plays. She hasn't heard this song in ten years, she used
to like it, but the band's other hit was better. At a point she will not
remember, he says he's not moving in, too, but she doesn't take it in.
The green of the trees, the freedom of his body, the sweat, the beauty
of their having privacy, finally. The fact of his leaving escapes her.
She sings along.
He sings, over and over, the same line, "Life is a highway/ I'm gonna
ride it/ all night long." She hears the song. She doesn't hear him. They
carry her possessions up two flights of stairs. Suddenly, she knows
he'll be sleeping somewhere else tonight and every night. On a
sweltering afternoon, they carry everything up while tears run down her
face. She doesn't care who sees. She hopes he sees. She hopes and hopes
he changes his mind. He doesn't.
The fact of his absence defines her for years to come. Everywhere she
looks, something is missing. Everything she does marks time and
accomplishes nothing. When he left, he absently tucked her in a pocket
and someday he will find her crumpled in memory like forgotten singles
in a coat that no longer fits. Where once she filled rooms with herself,
she cannot locate that self anymore. He didn't mean to, but he took
everything. The song drenches this ruin. At this depth, light fails to
penetrate, it is all night.
It should end, but it doesn't.
It should end. But it doesn't.
©2001 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
Today's NY/NJ Shows That Matter
Friday, April 2, 2021
Colossal Street Jam at The Vogel @ The Basie
Jesse Malin at Bowery Electric (2 shows)
Emily Grove with John Philippidis (of Burlap To Cashmere) at Langosta Lounge
More NY/NJ Shows That Matter
ALTROK recommends music once a week; here's our most recent choices. Most links will take you to a place where you can buy the music; if there's no link, and you own a record company, consider releasing it yourself...
A Place To Bury Strangers - It Is Nothing
The Boxer Rebellion - Semi-Automatic
The Cribs - Cheat On Me
Datarock - True Stories
Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome
HEALTH - Die Slow
Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls - Catching More Than We Miss
Julian Plenti - Games For Days
Los Campesinos - The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future (Free download!)
Miike Snow - Black & Blue
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