This is new.
He gave me a book. It’s a new kind of book, a new gift. It’s his own work; an ebook of his own poems, lovingly arranged, carefully composed around a theme: music. The mixtape.
The first story I ever wrote for this blog was about music. It’s not on this blog anymore; you’ll have to grab a copy of the book to read it (page 2). And here we come around again, two years after that first gift. This time, the giver compiled fifteen of his own poems about music. And pop, and camp, and fame, and what songs do to us and the way we fall in love with them and the artists who created them the same way we fall in love with books and the authors who wrote them.
He made me an ebook, a test trial so he could figure out how to publish in iBooks. And maybe this will amount to something more than a trial run. We don’t yet know.
These songs narrate me: “I am human, and I need to be loved.” “I wear black on the outside, because black is [sometimes] how I feel on the inside.” “Girl afraid: where do his intentions lay?” Just the same, whenever I do my hair for a night out, I flash back to Margaret’s single backwards curl in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Every bath I take is Esther’s deep, hot soak in The Bell Jar.Richard Yates’ adept portrayal of April Wheeler’s swirling frustration gave power to my own flight from suburban stagnation.
The songs and the books, they are the same. They offer us the same balms in different flavors. Poems ride the line down the middle—lyric words never meant to be sung, except in our own hearts, our own voices.
A book of poems is a mixtape; a collection of songs you get to sing in your own head. This is what he gave me.