A History in Music
What if the songs we hear become pieces of us?
When we love them hard enough, notes become dislodged, float
inside our bodies and stick in our
hearts or lungs, we
embody those notes and each time we hear the song again it's like
a puzzle finding it's missing piece: something we
didn't know we were missing snaps
into place and for that 3 minutes and 29 seconds we
are something like complete.
is for the notes
of every song I've ever sung that are
waiting to be breathed again;
and this is for all the notes still waiting out
in the beautiful not yet.
It's bedtime and I am 5 years old.
My sister and I go into our bedroom and switch out the cassette from the tape player
exchanging soothing ocean sounds for Disney's Greatest Hits.
Dad comes in, says goodnight, turns out the light, presses "play" and "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" fills the bedroom as my sister and I howl with laughter, hopping in our beds.
There were no ocean sounds in our bedroom that night,
but at 5, music filled my body with wiggles I could not suppress.
I'm 8 and have discovered my father's record collection.
In the basement, my sister and I don fancy dress-up clothes and turn on Jim Croce's
"Bad Bad Leroy Brown" while flipping our skirts and dancing wildly around the floor.
In that moment, I felt myself simultaneously beautiful and talented and also
hilarious and a little naughty dancing to this song I did not understand.
At 11, I was practically a piano virtuoso...according to me. I played
and played and played those songs until I never had to open a book.
I lost myself in the embodying of those notes, played them again and
again until my mother would yell, "Give it a rest, Laur,"
and I would slink to my bedroom.
I have always been a poet. I want the lyrics
to wrap themselves around me: as a teenager, I would crawl inside
and find myself a home inside the words. I left
pieces of history in those songs that still smell like
summer camp, swimming pools, dressing rooms, college dorms,
car trips, alcohol, and regret.
Large pieces of me can be found on CDs I burned and listened to until
their rhythm became the pace of my day.
This is for the music of the not yet.
For the love and laughter, grief and heartache
waiting to be heard, to be sung, to be played
until everyone around me begs me to
give it a rest.
This is for knowing the world in us as the only song.
For the music of magic creating vast vibration of
beautiful in us; this is for the songs we sing off-key in our kitchen.
For the lyrics we remember wrong - or never hear right.
For the ones that speak to our souls and never leave us.
This is for the music we make
with our tongues, our feet, our hands,
for the beat of our hearts keeping time with our
rests, our melodies, our
cacophonies of words we try to smooth like symphonies:
you untamed, wild song.
Hold the microphone of your life to your lips that we
may ever hear your vital blossoming of lyric, you
unfolding explosion; let us
breathe our harmonies into your bloodstream --
can you hear it?
is the sound of the world in us.
It is the song of all the music that is
living in you. It is
the harmony of all the songs
you have not yet sung.