learn what life is

13 Oct

I sat down to listen to this song and I typed out the lyrics as I listened, the old-fashioned way.  It is a form of mediation almost for me.  To focus on the words of a song and transcribe them as they flow out.  It reminds me of doing it as a teenager, before Internet when you couldn’t just find the lyrics to songs.  I would spend hours doing it, pencil in hand, pausing, rewinding the tape back and forth, over and over for the parts I could not quite catch.  You caught a lot more of the phrasing that way, let it seep into your mind.

My room is white, the walls
and all my appliances,
all compliances.

I live in silence, my windows
closed to traffic,
all that racket.

You are the opposite.
I could never fit
into your apartment.

Are we going to give up?
Or are we going to try?
Are we going to give up?
Or are we going to try
to learn what life is?

The tide comes in and we’re caught
by the rocks and the wetness,
never endless.

We kiss for the first time, our
lips and tongues tied in fitness,

Then the ocean pulls back somehow
to reveal a crowd
of uncertainty.

Are we going to live up
to the words we said?
Are we going to live up
to the love we made,
made, made,
made, made?

A house, a garden, a family tree
fruit aplenty,
all variety.

Desire fulfilled, inspired until
the awakening
from our day-dreaming.

Here in reality what we make believe
we can make happen

Are we going to give up?
Or are we going to try?
Are we going to live up?
Or are we going to die
to die, to die,
tonight, tonight?

Are we going to give up?
Or are we going to try?
Are we going to give up?
Or are we going to try
to learn what life is,
to learn what life is?

This song for me is some kind of combination of inspiration and intense identification.   I feel like writing an overarching love letter to this song.
My sister walked in on me listening to this song once and said: oh my god please shut the depressing music off.
The thing is to me this song is not truly sad.  To me, it captures that exquisite calm melancholy that descends on you as you wait for yet another change to sweep your way.  In many ways it is a song filled with hope.
Mia’s face is difficult not to love, there are parts of her that should be awkward and gaunt, and other parts that are luscious, and it holds together into this kind of jarring, haunting, beauty.   She is spooky but magnetic, her eyes are deep, self-contained, knowing yet innocent.
Her voice is heavily reverberated in this recording, echoing.  It has such a unique quality, kind of outer-worldy.  A mature voice certainly, not a little girl’s, but a real, thinking, feeling woman’s.  But magical and peaceful too.  I don’t know, it’s not my favourite voice to listen to, and yet it is quite perfect in itself and there is noone’s I can quite compare it to.
I love her little questions, she is so matter-of-fact, so calm, so vulnerable.  There are no complaints here, only questions and wondering.
There is this sweet and deep sensuality to this song too, with the salty swaying tide, the lips, the tongue, the wetness.  If this song were a fuck, she would be a gentle one. Actually there would be no fuck, only love-making.  She would be honest and open and giving, waiting at the edge and hoping, ready for you in the dark.
The camera zooms in and out of Mia like the tides, and the melody  is quite simple and swings back and forth like a lullaby.  I love the heavy but gentle piano, and the echoey percussion that gets layered in towards the end.
And she swings back and forth in her words:  her white room, his crowded traffic. give up.try. live.die. make-believe.reality. day-dream. awake.
I have always had this obsession with the melding of opposites.   The flip-sides that meet on one coin, the tail-biting cycles.
I see myself in these things.  In the fantasies that did not play out in reality. In trying to live up to the words shared. In the times I did not know if I should give up.  I have found myself thrown out of that wondrous infinite space of pure connection into sudden ugly dirty insecurity, crowding in around me.  And  I have stayed in my white room, silent.  And I have tried to learn what life is, to learn what life is, again and again.
Is this what life is, a simple swing ride?

Photo: The White Room (Undersized) -Katherine du Tiel 2010


2 Responses to “learn what life is”


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