The first time I went skiing I fell so hard
that one entire side of my thigh turned purplish-black,
the color of eggplants, or of fertile soil in the spring.
I developed strange habits to avoid pain,
sitting with my legs curled to the opposite side,
adjusting the showerhead so the water
only hit healthy tissue. At night
I’d run my fingers over the skin,
imagining that each pulse of warmth I felt
came from individual hemoglobin molecules
breaking down and dissipating. After many nights
the bruise began to fade, receding millimeter
by millimeter, revealing strong, uninjured muscle.
On cooler days I swear my skin still tingles
as if it remembers how easily the blood vessels
beneath it were broken, or how dangerous
my own weight can be, if applied improperly.
I carry each pound carefully. My body is slow
to heal, slow to forget, yet it heals each injury,
intentional or not: black eyes, pierced ears,
broken fingernails. Sometimes I think
that my memories of you will be deathless,
that I will never again be able to loosen
the muscles in my chest and throat, that every
whispered I wish or I want will never fade,
but I know that this will also heal.
Maybe your spirit will pass behind me
as I make coffee, early in the morning.
Maybe somehow, as far away
in time and space as you are,
you are healing, too.


SFTN #3: Jesu, “Opiate Sun”

Band: Jesu
Song: Opiate Sun
Album: Opiate Sun (2009)
Genre: Metalgaze
Origin: Wales

Before I start this post I want to show you this quote from Jesu’s Wiki article:

Broadrick himself has made it known that he does not consider Jesu to fall into any of these categories and that he has been intentionally writing what he considers to be coherent and structured pop songs.

Go listen to the song up there.  Go on, have a listen.  Does that sound like a coherent pop song to you?

Anyway, if that’s what Justin Broadrick wants to think about his music, that’s totally fine.  It’s his baby.  All I know is that I’ve never been a huge fan of shoegaze, but I can’t remember a single Jesu song that I haven’t liked.

Before beginning Jesu, Justin Broadrick had already achieved a level of fame as the vocalist for the venerable industrial metal band Godflesh.  Something spiritual and life-changing must have happened to Broadrick in the 19 years between Streetcleaner and Opiate Sun; that or he just got tired of the chugging atonality of industrial metal and wanted to try something a bit lighter.  Come to think of it, compared to early Godflesh, Jesu is basically pop music.

Although Opiate Sun is in the major tonality, its lyrics are far from uplifting:

They’re resisting how they’re feeling.
They’ll just blindly keep believing.
They’re resisting how they’re feeling.
They’ll just blindly keep believing.

The contrast between the upbeat chords and the depressing lyrics, as well as between the semi-droning guitars and Justin’s perishing alt rock voice, make for a transcendent listening experience.  I really can’t think of many other bands off the top of my head that can give me a drugless high like this one, except maybe Tool, but who wants to listen to Tool all the time?  That’s just weird.

I’ve taken actual opiates several times in the past – always in the recommended dose and for legitimate medical problems, of course – and I never got much of a high from them, they just put me to sleep for six hours and gave me a fuzzy mouth and horrid constipation when I woke up.  Opiate Sun gives me the “hazy” feeling without any of the nasty side effects.  Jesu: doing the Lord’s work (haha get it) since 2003.

Prayers for the Dying [Spring 2013]

Several days ago, Tumblr emailed me asking if I still wanted my old account.  The last time I posted on this account was during the summer of 2013.  No, I didn’t want it anymore – but before I deleted it, I browsed through its “poetry” tag.  Much of the poetry I wrote before this blog was started has been lost, so I was happy to find some of my old work.  This is a poem about Omayra Sanchez, written for my advanced poetry workshop during my sophomore year of college.

November 13

The sky is wood and concrete,
gray ash, one silver sliver turning slowly peach
and then gold. I reach for the dust,
feeling warmth slip through my fingertips.

Lahar, which means mudslide,
which means people made of clay
and noises in the distance,
is neither English nor Spanish.
Screams are no language, either.
When they pull on my arms I scream
from a place cracked open by mud.

We’ll have to get a pump, they say.

November 14

I teach the photographer the songs
my mother taught me. His Spanish
is so slow and flat, I laugh
even though it hurts. My head spins
between drinks of Coca-Cola
and bites of bread.

I am kneeling on something soft,
softer than earth, and I think it’s
a person. The sun is too hot.
I smell bad and my legs
are falling asleep.

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy

(I can’t go to school like this.)

November 15

When my friends and I quiz each other
for math, I always do the best.
My aunt pats my head. So smart, she says.

The photographer takes a picture, so
I smile a little, rest my hand on my pillow.

It’s brighter when I close my eyes,
and the farther away he gets,
the louder my name becomes,
each syllable a little exploding dart

Omayra Omayra Omayra

Nothing divided by nothing is still nothing.