Friday, January 12, 2018

House on Fire

For years, actually decades, historians have been debating the proper division between private and public. Historians of gender, for example, talk about the gendered division of public and private spaces and the ways in which women (for example) subverted these binary divisions.

This particular blog is public. But sometimes I have wanted to post personal (i.e., private) thoughts. The fact that I want to do this publicly constitutes a kind of internal contradiction. I could easily write my deepest most personal thoughts in a document on my computer and keep it to myself, but something makes me want to share it here, which must mean, I want other people to see it. But that knowledge, that I am writing for an unknown (albeit very small) public would also automatically activate a kind of self-censorship. And that would defeat the purpose of something intimate -- I would slide back to artifice and pretension and all those things that regulate my public behavior.

So I've had a bit of a bumpy ride here at the beginning of 2018. I don't even how to begin to talk about it. I'm not actually sure I can talk about it, since to talk about it is to give voice to a reality that is too difficult to accept. But everyone will tell you that it's better to be upfront, to the accept the harsh realities of life than to delude oneself that things are OK.

So in lieu of actually talking about, here are some lyrics of mine.

I wrote this song when I was 21 and recorded it on a cassette tape which is still rolling around in a box in storage. I was trying to get a kind of '80s Springsteenesque vibe. Four chords, with some major 7th chords thrown in.

"House on Fire"

Remember that place near where you used to live
A half-made building with broken down steps
We'd sit at night next to the forbidden wire
Try and lift the shadows a little bit higher
Not knowing about tomorrow's house on fire

The soft rise of your breathing, so close to me
I swear I'd take care of you, the way it used to be
But the changes go past, and the road gets tired
We tell the truth, so says a liar
Caught in the light of this house on fire

I'm sitting at the window, looking at winter get colder
I feel the chill, and your head on my shoulder
Loosen the grip, when the things get tighter
Laugh together and fuck through our desires
And take a walk around this house on fire

Loneliness brings you together, it takes you apart
You weren't looking, but I saw it in your heart
You smile and this weight gets so much lighter
But then you flick a match, draw the curtains tighter
Guess there's no way out of this house on fire

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