Did I Know You?
Did I know you
you never quite said or
we let lie. Half-thought
thoughts. A shadow
that passed over your face.
Something in your eyes. No,
I don’t want to believe that.
But it comes back. Night
has no sounds,
only strange thoughts. Words
that rise up from my sleep:
Did I know you?
Kjente jeg deg?
Kjente jeg deg
du aldri fikk sagt eller
vi lot ligge. Halv-
tenkte tanker. En skygge
som strøk over ansiktet.
Noe i øynene. Nei
jeg vil ikke tro det.
Men det kommer igjen. Natten
har ingen lyd,
bare rare tanker. Ord
som stiger opp av søvnen:
Kjente jeg deg?
It Was Here
It was here. Right here
beside the brook and the old rosebush.
A late spring this year, the roses are still pale,
almost like your cheek
the first morning beyond death.
But it’s coming,
only the light, only the fragrance, only the pleasure
won’t be coming.
But it was here,
it was an evening with a moon,
the brook trickling,
like now. Take my hand,
put your arm there.
And we’ll set out
together in the summer night,
Det var her
Det var her. Akkurat her
ved bakken og det gamle nypekjerret.
Sen vår iår, rosene er bleke ennå,
nesten som kinnet ditt
den første morgenen bak døden.
Men det kommer,
bare lyset, bare duften, bare gleden
Men det var her
og det var kveld og måne,
sånn som nå. Ta hånden min,
legg armen der.
Så går vi da
sammen i sommernatten, tause
mot det som
Crust on Fresh Snow
My soul is hard as stone. I slept with the wind.
He’s an unfaithful lover. Now he’s with someone else.
He hummed words, prattled in my ear
and stroked my hair. I gave him all my whiteness.
I let him chisel dreams in my soul—of clouds,
fierce seas, and soft flowery hills.
Now I see, cold, it was them he loved.
Where is he now? Tonight my heart froze.
Giving thanks: “November came at last…” “Eight billion zeroes is still zero/If you got no heart” Random gum – November 2017
Listen on Spotify. Find some of the tracks below for download (which are not available on Spotify). Or request a physical copy – I’m not doing the large-scale CD burning/package endeavor en masse any longer, but if anyone wants a physical copy and a package with some random candy in it, please comment (will leave the comment private).
1. This is the Kit – “Les Plus Beaux” 2. I Was a King – “Frozen Disease”…November came at last…
Discovered while seeing Robyn Hitchcock in Oslo in October. Lovely Norwegians 3. Michou – “Maloya ton tisane”
Maybe the only time I’ll include a singer from Réunion… 4. Jessie Ware – “Selfish Love”…why do I do these things/I break you down just to get my way/darling you do it too/you tell me lies and I bend the truth… 5. Marjan – “Kavire Del”
In Iran again 6. Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”
Nothing I thought I would ever include, but – as he does – SD randomly added it to his ‘repertoire’ and started singing it on the regular to make me laugh… and well, here it is. And it truly is the right song for him. 7. Robyn Hitchcock – “The Abyss”…I don’t know what is true/but my compass points to you/when it’s quivering like this/in the abyss…
For J. Finally got to see Hitchcock in Oslo in October after 30 years of waiting and wanting… 8. Vorderhaus – “Minor Activity”…love and regret I’ll never truly forget… 9. The Cry – “Alone” …With a piece of paper as blank as night and the words don’t seem to come out right and you ask yourself again is this for me?… 10. Mai Lệ Huyền – “Có Ai Trên Đời Mà Không Yêu
Seems to go along with all the Vietnam-related stuff around me now (the Ken Burns documentary, the fiction I read just before that by Bao Ninh and the memoir by Tim O’Brien earlier in the year) 11. Chastity Belt – “Caught in a Lie”…I’ll take a shot of whatever you’ve got/But it’s not going down that easily…
Walla Walla. Thoughts of M 12. Laser & bas – “Spela Shoreline”
Sweden, of course 13. Orange Juice – “Rip It Up”…I hope to God you’re not as dumb as you make out…
Glasgow classic 14. Velvet Condom – “Samt und Stein” 15. Throbbing Gristle – “Hot on the Heels of Love” 16. The Sonics – “Psycho”…Tell me baby/Am I just your clown?…
1960s Tacoma. For SD, cut-out marionette 17. Crybaby – “I Cherish the Heartbreak More than the Love that I Lost”…a happy ever after, well, baby/it just wasn’t us… 18. Ariel Pink, Weyes Blood – “On Another Day”…now the soft attraction has gone…
“She’ll swear some weak excuse/To gain more time/Changing sides like friends/To satisfy her quicksand ego/When life falls short again/She’ll crawl away” 19. Promised Land Sound – “She Takes Me There”…it seems she’ll never let me in/like emotion is a sin…
Nashville 20. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – “Asshole” …she’ll do anything to make you feel like an asshole…
RIP Tom Petty; always think of the scene in the old sitcom Wings when the character Lowell claims that Tom Petty is the world’s handsomest man… 21. Cults – “I Can Hardly Make You Mine”…Still I lead on the days/like a loaded gun…
“But I know you’re not the one or the only/But we both know what it’s like to be lonely” 22. Jean-Louis Murat – “À mendiante rousse”*
I can never get enough of these musical treatments of Baudelaire 23. Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve – “Diagram Girl” 24. The Pastels – “Nothing to Be Done” …I’m ready for you, sweetheart/Now my mind is open wide…
More Glasgow, of course, and truth: “Remember what was meant to be this year/The past is a disaster/And the future’s coming faster now” 25. Otis Redding – “These Arms of Mine”
I dare you to not love Otis 26. Cigarettes After Sex – “I’m a Firefighter”
Wandering Oslo with Annette on a day when firefighters were everywhere; joking about chasing fireman cock for lunch, remembering Yoga Fireman from so many years ago 27. Alex Chilton – “Hey! Little Child” 28. Men I Trust – “Tailwhip”…I’m happy as I am/cause I’m leaving…
Montréal. “This country dog won’t die in the city” 29. Lia Pamina – “Cards on the Table”…I hide away from close encounters/I never let my feelings be known/I’d rather burrow deep into my hole…
Spain! What in the hell is going on in Spain? For J 30. Roy Orbison – “The Comedians”…it’s always something cruel that laughter drowns…
An Elvis Costello tune recorded by Roy Orbison; my mom and I have always joked about this song (especially the “who held the lever that could bring me down” lyric) even though it is quite sad 31. Bedřich Smetana, Wiener Philharmoniker– “The Bartered Bride, JB 1:100: Dance of the Comedians”
Czech Czech Czech. Love for Anne, Martina. Reminds me so much of Academic Decathlon in high school – love for Mike, Amanda, Terra, Leighanne, etc. 32. Nahid Akhtar – “Dil To Kya Cheez Hai” 33. Bubblegum Lemonade – “The Only Constant is Change”
Another constant: Glasgow 34. Camper Van Beethoven – “Sweethearts”
Like a slice of junior high school: “McDonnell-Douglas olive drab/They bear the names of our sweethearts/And the captain smiles, as we crash/Cause in the mind of Ronald Reagan/Wheels they turn and gears they grind/Buildings collapse in slow motion/And trains collide. Everything is fine” 35. Front 242 – “Tragedy >For You<”…With that skill that was hers alone/She drove her clutches into me/I was dumbfounded/She was hungry/She required me entirely…
Belgium. Reminds me of sophomore year in high school though I like this much better now than I did then. It’s great for staying awake during long, late-night drives 36. Danielle Dax – “Tomorrow Never Knows” 37. Jane’s Addiction – “I Would For You”
Another brand on the brain – junior high school, getting this album from my old friend Jeremy as a gift and not really appreciating it until much later, but isn’t that always the way? 38. LCD Soundsystem – “One Touch”…Complicated people never do what you’re told to… 39. Radial Spangle – “Patio Furniture”…it’s not gonna matter in a couple of days/it will all melt…
For my beloved, hardy, robust patio furniture 40. Aimee Mann – “Disappeared”…Somehow I wound up on your bad side/Til now, I guess I had a free ride… 41. Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – “Star Stuff”…I could be wrong in saying/Everything falls into place… 42. Bunny Girls – “Why That Person?”
Korea 43. Hot Chocolate – “Heaven is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac”
I think this song is ridiculous. Right after I stumbled on it, I was at one of the Norway-Sweden border malls and saw this weird dude drive into the parking lot in a Cadillac (not a common car in Sweden) and then kept running into him inside the mall where he made a point of smiling creepily at me… ugh 44. St. Vincent – “Fear the Future”…In our bed, in our room/I come for you, come for me too… 45. Dolly Parton – “I Couldn’t Wait Forever” 46. Happyness – “Surfer Girl” 47. Kevin Morby – “Beautiful Strangers” 48. Martha Wainwright – “Ayoye” 49. On Dead Waves – “California”…The sun sets in California… 50. Monika – “Take Me With You” 51. Lea Porcelain – “Endlessly” 52. Onuma Singsiri – “Mae Kha Som Tam”
Thailand 53. Saint Etienne – “Out of My Mind”…Is this the end? I need to know/If it’s the start of something, where does it go?…
Love for Ben, Naomi 54. Jo Stafford – “The Gentleman is a Dope” …He’s somebody else’s problem/she’s welcome to the guy…
I do indeed enjoy cooking/baking while singing this at the top of my lungs 55. Jeremy Jay – “Airwalker”…Where can we go where the lights are low?… 56. Cabaret Voltaire – “Spies in the Wires”…ingenuity my secret rival… 57. Beck – “Up All Night”
Another good one for driving in the middle of the night 58. Heron Oblivion – “Beneath Fields”…Dreams from the days of suffering… 59. The Apostles – “Don’t Huzzle for Love”
Nigeria 60. Frank Zappa, The Mothers of Invention – “Trouble Every Day”
Timeless, thus timely, spot-on shit 61. Vincent Delerm – “Super Bowl”
Because who doesn’t pretend to like Joe Montana with ulterior motives? 62. Delicate Steve – “Don’t Get Stuck (Proud Elephants)”
For the dainty SD 63. Jessica Lea Mayfield, Dan Auerbach – “(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six” 64. Laibach – “Sympathy for the Devil (Time for a Change)”
Another take on a classic… from Slovenia 65. Death in Vegas – “Dirt” 66. Dent May – “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love” 67. Oumou Sangaré – “Koukoun”
Mali 68. Fiji Mermaid – “Lipsticked Lips of Yore” …transfixed by the lipsticked lips of yore…
For J. 69. Arik Einstein – “Beit Ha’arava”
Israel: the mystery man uncovered 70. Y La Bamba – “Orca”
Portland, Oregon 71. Jacky – “Dog and Pony Show”
For Martina; hoping she is not in a new dog-and-pony show 72. Eleftheria Arvanitaki – “Ta Schoinia”
Greece 73. Keren Ann – “My Name is Trouble”…My game is endless I tend to obsess/No game is up to my need to possess…
Worldly: Paris/New York/Tel Aviv 74. Echo & the Bunnymen – “Seven Seas”
Always loving the way “tor-TOYZ” gets pronounced; pretty sure this song will remind me of Halt & Catch Fire and Gordon Clark for the rest of my life 75. Death and Vanilla – “Moogskogen”
It will not surprise you that this is Swedish/from Malmö 76. Tropic of Cancer – “Distorted Horizon” 77. Maysa – “Vai Via Malinconia”
Brasil 78. Eivør – “Silvitni”…og eg gloymi mína óró/minnist aftur mína eydnu…
It won’t be often you’ll get something Faroese 79. Goat – “Talk to God”
A strange one from Sweden 80. Insecure Man – “Subaru Nights” 81. Mehrpouya – “Soul Raga”
Persian pop time 82. Part Time – “Honey Lips” 83. Googoosh – “Talagh”
Quite the mix: Iran-Azerbaijan 84. Robyn Hitchcock – “I Want to Tell You About What I Want”…I want a non-invasive kind of telepathy…
“You think I’m un-generous? Really? In what way?/The more you give someone the more they want from you”. “We’re replacing ourselves with artificial thought/And that could be our legacy/Before the feline dynasty/Scampers over history”
“Eight billion zeroes is still zero/If you got no heart” 85. Marching Church – “King of Song”
Denmark. Somehow this song also seems ideal for driving 86. Kleenex/LiLiPUT – “Die Matrosen”
Switzerland all-girl band, late 70s/early 80s; sadly the guitarist died last year 87. Jim James – “Same Old Lie”
Seems to be a social protest song of sorts; good timing 88. Reigning Sound – “Never Coming Home”…Upon each broken part of my heart/is the wear and tear of many years…
The American South. This sounds like something from many decades ago, maybe not only because of the sound but because of the reference to a “long-distance call”, which used to be such a big deal 89. Eleftheria Arvanitaki – “Fysa Psychi Mou”
One of those random discoveries in college 90. Holy Shit, Ariel Pink – “Written All Over Your Face”…Truth, it never really came between us…
“Keep every little scrap of paper/You never know what you’re gonna need/Your memories are sad distractions/Get so bright you can’t even see” 91. Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer”…Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire… 92. Jack Cooper – “North of Anywhere”…Too scared to say the wrong thing… 93. Takako Minekawa – “Fantastic Cat”
The Japanese and their cat love. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like cats 94. Rotary Connection, Minnie Riperton – “I Am the Black Gold of the Sun” 95. Natalia Lafourcade, Los Macorinos – “Mexicana Hermosa”
For Martina 96. Robyn Hitchcock – “Light Blue Afternoon”…and there’s no derailing destiny/she’s a single-minded girl…
“If you were not so aggressive/I’d feel pity in my heart/but your rage is so possessive/I just don’t know where to start” 97. Martina Topley-Bird – “Valentine”…they release you then you turn to see/Make it feel all right/The only thing is that I didn’t…
Somehow always makes me think of dear Jane. “I feel around and still you’re here” 98. St. Vincent – “Slow Disco”
Perfection: “Am I thinking what everybody’s thinkin’?/I’m so glad I came, but I can’t wait to leave” 99. Jean-Louis Murat, Morgane Imbeaud – “Héautontimorouménos”*
“Pour abreuver mon Saharah/Jaillir les eaux de la souffrance/Mon désir gonflé d’espérance/Sur tes pleurs salés nagera” 100. Broadcast – “Echo’s Answer…the message sent was of discontent/from incline to incline…
I appreciate the long Easter break but am not sure I will ever get used to it. I managed to send out the tons and tons of packages before Easter (everyone needs to be a Norwegian chocolate convert), and now for a few days, most things will be closed. Actually that’s not totally true. In Norway everything closes, while in Sweden it’s all a bit relaxed, and not only are all Swedes out stocking up on liquor today, the Norwegians will undoubtedly have flooded across the border to do the same. They need their cartloads of liquor, soda, chicken, bacon and candy. (Even Norwegian candy is cheaper in Sweden than in Norway.)
He told me I would not be able to breathe for three days; I would not be able to move for three days thereafter. He was right. Blissful torture for every muscle and tendon and bodily hinge I never knew existed.
It sounds, after the fact, like he took me hostage and tortured me, but it was more an “I get to do this” kind of thing – I have this ability. Not an “I have to” kind of thing. Oddly these kinds of things become easier when you understand and feel the interconnectedness of everything on a subatomic level. If everything is just energy, the barriers, boundaries and physical limitations slip away. Feeling at one with everything (I know how that sounds) makes me ready for everything – and anything. I feel that my mind has been in that space for a long time but locked itself away for some more appropriate time. Is this that time?
A ‘crackpot psychic book’ has been like a gateway drug to physics books. After all, these subjects I avoided when young become clear now only because of the way they are presented. Because it feels there is real-life application and not just abstract ideas. My ex used to bring home physics books from the library to read for fun, and as much as I admired and loved that about him, I was not ready for such books at the time.
subatomic particles (-david keig)
i dreamed i was a neutron
inside an atom’s heart
surrounded by electrons
their force pulling me apart
i met a pair of bosons
got assaulted by some quarks
found my quantum levels jumping
when something made me start
could i be sure of all this?
in my subatomic world
or would statistical mechanics
introduce a kind of blur
of uncertainty to all things
and so it wasn’t clear to me
if i really was a neutron
or just a probability.
Later this month, I will already have lived in my house for seven years, which feels impossible. Coupled with the two years before that that I lived in Norway, I have already been in Norway/Sweden for longer than the entire period I spent living in Iceland, but somehow the Iceland period felt so much longer. How is it that I so often feel like I just got to Sweden, when in fact I have been there for ages – almost the longest I have been in one place since adulthood began?
On an entirely different note, it’s strange how people’s personalities and realities unfold to others with time.We might really connect with someone immediately when we meet them, and this can (partly) stymie our ability to really see them – to see the full deck of cards fanned out rather than being dazzled by a few face cards, hiding all the trumps and jokers. Or at least we don’t know that a couple of cards are missing at first. We will see them later. Not intentional hiding, of course – it is just, you know, a full deck of cards has a lot of cards. You’re not going to see every card right away. The most forthright, honest and open person still is not going to have an opportunity or reason to share every single thing immediately – some things they would never even think to share, other things don’t come up until something triggers them. And then it is a whole new hand dealt each time.
I don’t at all doubt the reality of instant reactions to people we meet – like the instant hatred/dislike, the instant connection with someone remarkable (this does not need to be romantic), the love at first sight, the whatever-inexplicable-alchemy that makes people click. But I also do not doubt – and do appreciate – the occasional feet-on-ground reminders of why, despite my love for spontaneous action, we should not jump in and do mad things and make mad declarations too soon. For someone like me, that temptation is great at times. I have tiny, split-second misfirings in the brain sometimes, admiring people for doing things like meeting and getting married in a week (or thinking how fun it would be to go to work on a Monday, announcing with no fanfare at all that I had gotten married or something similarly dramatic, after having had no plan to do so on the previous Friday). But I have also seen these pseudo-admirable risks fail on a grand and destructive scale (of course they do!) and have been around the block enough times to know that it’s a monumentally bad idea. Particularly if you’re going with this blind, trusting-the-gut, instant ramen feeling (you know, it’s warm, it’s filling, it’s quick and sort of delicious for a few bites. But it cools off and kind of congeals, starts to taste unpleasant, oversalted and then just toxic. Bad idea. Unhealthy. Just like an instant wedding! I used wedding/marriage because it is the most instant and dramatic thing I can think of that involves following the heart over the logical mind but there are undoubtedly other things… buying big-ticket items, moving to another country without thinking it through?).
I quickly return to my senses; I have never bothered to gamble.