Another angel I saw
In a bee out of season
Trying to move through glass.
In a blind kitten
Abandoned on the fairgrounds.

 

When I was 17 I was in love with a rock star, a singer. The first time I met him he was sitting in a church pew inside a club in New Haven. Pigeon-toed, he sat there leaning forward toward nothing, holding a Beck’s beer in his hand. When we said goodbye he kissed me and held my hand for as long as it took me to walk an arm’s length away. The languid fluidity, the casual soulful-ness of him would surface in other boys over the years. The drunken frame without limits. Twenty years later he would be found dead hanging by the neck from a belt in a 4 star hotel.

They come so subtly into your world, these boys who sing, settling in a rhythm soft as snow in Autumn. At the start their songs blow by, quiet as a stranger passing you on the sidewalk, a blur of dull clothes without smiles or words. They are nameless, lost in the stir of faces and ideas and plans. You might not even take note of them if they were sitting on a bus across from you. But then arrives a gradual realization that what they have yearns to become a part of you. This is how it was with Jonny, Manhattan bound and free falling with the grace of a monarch. I have watched them for years sing their depression. Over time they’ve built a modern myth, a persona born from desire which doesn’t really exist. Oh, these boys who sing. They are irreplaceable. The sound of their voices building stories, weaving pictures and promises and pieces of the past into something that will remain. In every other aspect they may be unremarkable. They may possess common features, and speech. They may hold a dull conversation. It’s only when they sing that they become color and light. They bring forth what will save them, and rescue you. And then, in that instant when the idea crosses over and reaches you, there is nothing impossible for them in your eyes.

Enchanted by them always, I have spent days and years trying to capture their music. I still remember every one of them, the habits, the birth marks- their favorite candy Nightly I would dream the litany of their temperamental ways and the rhyming lives they created in song. As a small girl they were my future. I would spend winters in Europe with them. I would fly the world over making discoveries by their side. The boys who sang accompanied me into my high school years. Even my teachers would make references to them. I wrote their names in hearts on the covers of my notebooks. I studied the history of their foreign lands and learned their rituals. Ireland. England. Australia. Germany. The boys in my school couldn’t compare. They had no words of their own. They did not sing their life. I remember reading in church one day “He who sings prays twice.” and I carried that with me, never quite understanding its meaning but thinking that it rung true somehow. These boys, they are all unique, yet so alike. And the greatest among them are misfits. Some emptiness inside gives them heavenly expression. We listen to them. We miss the sound of their voices when the last song has ended. We can’t get enough of them, and yet when we try to enter their world, their ways, it is like entering a dream where reality mixes oddly with bits of fantasy. Like world peace, the idea of them cannot sustain itself. There was Jonny. Born from the blues with eyes of the same. For many years we took solace in each other although not once did we kiss. Not once. I wrote so many words for him, because of him. He was my muse and everything I did was a progression towards him, a bright habit, light and warmth and savior to me. It is human nature to be drawn toward mystery. Desire is the anatomy of mystery. To our hearts and souls music is essential, and to bring these together shows us a sliver of Eden, of what carries on between worlds- from the material to the divine. In Spring the birds sing the trees to their budding, and the flowers to their blossoming. Could there be reincarnation without their song? Would we feel as deeply without music? From silence we learn what is in the space between which we dare not venture to. Boys who sing- we are as foreign to you as you are to us, but your songs of heartbreak, and the uncertainty of your favor are balm to the wounded. When the world burns it is only these things which will survive.

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