Playlist: February 2021

you want snow, personally want to know will it end? The snow was a space it kept filling until the light went down and there was no song, just white in a sepia, sepia song. Was friday night, first night, and you could get a wine right now, a wish right now, you could fill it with wine. I do it all the time and there’s another card to prove it. Notifications softly accumulate in organic bright square. I have to stay awake; there are these bordered gardens I walk on the boardwalk I’m bored of walking I do it all the time; we stop sometimes (pensive) we watch each other not-smoke over the Zone. You want snow and I fill a glass of it, crisply; gushed from the tap but I still have precision, white grapes sour my organs hurting. We’re in the milk bar in some novel, some game, is it Clock Town? I am always taking you to Clock Town where the moon’s tears shimmer and there’s always a love affair to intercept with letters. Dearest…I meant, putting these shiny earrings in for you, quartz chips, I lost one? There is a proverb, a space; you fill it. Don’t fill anything right to the brim unless it’s coffee, I’ll drink it, overfull the stars and so on only as old as they think they are! We’re never too young for clubbing, the air is infectious you go out with mittens you glow — I am taking pictures of Kelvin Way, the avenue, the sorry trees. Likes of likes fill up like snow, like pc4pc like another moratorium on the heart react but you are bees. Drape inwards where the nape of a neck is pearl. We are weeping in the reading and we never were too young for this. Her version of treble mix in blackbird, favourite, a yellow call. Stereo. Some things a poem keeps secret. We’re in the milk bar and I am the tender of bar, a bar of milk (chocolate!) that gets you high, highest on wednesday’s the hump day pack it with double the sugar. Let’s grate hours upon hours, shredding plainsong, blackbirds, milk. The calorific value of daylight is only that you live it, don’t let anyone tell you they can harvest good will from the sun, it’s all watts, you know, I always fancied myself gentrified sunbeam for lunch but only on vicarious fridays, like I’m in love and it’s caused by coffee, something S. said once in a poem or essay, it’s easy, you take off your clothes and go swimming in the ice melt, SPACE, it’s sentence. We’re never too young for air, I’m greedy for oxygen like it’s 2014 and having moshed for sufficient number of hours in the outdoor crowd of this gentrified field I will take this body to the oxygen bar. You have the summer bod, the winter bod, the hot bod, the boy bod, the girl bod, the professional bod, the Zoom bod, the new bod, the non bod, the gains bod, the ghost bod, the fire bod, the ice bod, the willow bod, the swim bod, the shame bod. We sat in the oxygen bar anyhow, C. spent obnoxious amounts on a bottle of water that lasted forever, BPA-free, we cradled it all morn like our baby, she was, the clarity in that! Sparkling, milking, added vitamins. It is friday night on my desk there are innumerable pamphlets of poem, wires (no liquorice), f.’s glasses, a pink slab of crackle quartz, a coaster (forever unused) that says ‘please don’t leave’ inside a heart, melatonin pills (I will take one later), the bottle cap from a bottle of nye’s Classic Hooch, a lukewarm of tea (green), three-way pencil sharpener, hair clip, an orange pomander candle which I am horrified to say advertises itself as ‘Harmful to aquatic life with long lasting effects’ — so in any case you won’t catch me throwing this fire in the sea! Special aquarium babies we are. It contains limonene, geranyl acetate – the candle, not the sea – and asks to be disposed in an appropriate disposal site. A film called Dive in which I am force-fed squid in the back of a taxi, now where have we seen that one before? A. has a vegan fridge a white shelf a row of spices. Tell me where do we all go lay rest our candles, how to elegise that which symbolises elegy, say prayer. Is this merely to blog or to bathe in pond life, gentle aquaria, I see through other glasses the reflective lettrism of darknesses unknown to us! And you’re still reading! Snow person melts into people. There is melt poetics. I clip back the starry excess to say wait here, we’re on the brink of something is it the beach in the email the long bright stretch of waiting, white sand, gold sand, brown sand, blue sand under the moon (!) how long it’s been I hope you’re okay and other famous online statements the daffodils wilt too soon is sun they want so much blush pressure it’s barely gone february, melt and blush. A year ago today we all kissed I did cartwheels the vodka was long and delicious, the room was huge, our hearts acidic. Monopoly for dogs. Sharing a space, you hold. Is it to never feel correct in the body, what is correction? Not lighter fluid or erasers, not rubber bullets, silver bullets, see that spray you put in your tea or under the tongue? It’s sultry. Tip-Exx the sky of its sentences: And the man at the station asking about rizlas; I wanted to be inside the movie somehow; grunge boys in their teens wearing mum dresses. On the phone elsewhere I cry on the way to vaccine because of the wind is alarmist and two days later my arm is bruised but something is glowing we call it glitchflu. More like, what do we have energy? I am carelessly humanist transition I walk on pavements I pin my life to the side I kiss your brow I am kissed regardless the stars are yes say here the waves a glissy sensation a wine or is it the dawn so aeropressed. How long? I want a dial-in thesis, drive-by thesis, dive-bar thesis. Double shot — What exists? This is going to argue [that] I don’t dare ask to hold my breath I am falling from air, extra shots, impasse, salted caramel, the jag didn’t hurt a bit but all night the ache and a glandular longing to be again born on the brink of full moon the wires and coming along the Clyde coming up was almost the sea or when the air hit my face it was a whip it was west; I saw you in the loch in july. There is a bird and curlew, bless you, how many times we had to admit this was happening and pangs for an X and cutely go as it does then stain us. How easy to forget a persona. The shape contains us. I was even incubated as a baby for what, for not being able to breathe or die. What remains is the sand and the wind alacrity then scrap matters for how a throat hurts get so leafy. Breath. Swipe here a useless space. E. says I look languid I am wearing all white my hair hurts my breath hurts the glass is apparent, scalp clip, red-lipped to say you are blocked and so far outside and the subtleties in difference between silence and mute. Ecru! Career poetess of the sea except. How to protect yourself and others. The comment section filling with memory snow as the sky is a mattress, let’s bounce from it. There is time after time after time last seconds ago the edit came down from the rain and your tongue and shining. Don’t say it? Don’t say it at all? The arrangement of tulips a mathematics what do people in American movies really mean when they say Do you want to come over we’ll do some trig? Mothers not mothers arranging the vase it is glass the atoms are careless. You see the one yellow tulip had flopped down in the window this is the yellow we are a very strong yellow a limp yellow a lip, equilateral, let’s count stripes or feel inside they are silk, the trestle, assemble the trestle, the trellis. I’ll grow across pink suns to see you, extra life of the indolent, a quoted splendour; the dinner we coated with rain, with lexical deference, with delta waves, with petals, equations. Pass me cigar. I am propped against sunset. The smoke is to say

~

Hannah Diamond – Hi

SOPHIE – UNISIL

Janelle Monáe feat. Grimes – Pynk

CAN – Waiting for the Streetcar

Jeff Buckley – The Sky is a Landfill

Silver Jews – I’m Gonna Love the Hell Out of You

Judee Sill – Down Where the Valleys Are Low

Zella Day, Weyes Blood – Holocene

Porridge Radio, Piglet – Let’s Not Fight !

Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home

Dorothea Pass – Container

Cocteau Twins, Harold Budd – Ooze Out and Away, Anyhow

Days of Scene

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There was a brief period of my life where I was obsessed with Chicago. I thought all the best music came out of Chicago (maybe I could name three bands). It had a specific molten quality in my mind, like everyone there was never quite present but always dissolving at some point into the walls or sidewalks. There were basement clubs and people drank lager lager lager, a nod to cool Britannia, or else they swilled actual Liquor. I actually had no idea what went on in Chicago. It was possible everyone smoked in dingy bars and went about listening to jazz, feeling miserable. Did it rain much? All I had to go by was a Fall Out Boy lyric: ‘I’ve got a sunset in my veins / And I need to take a pill to make this town feel okay’. I was thirteen and still didn’t know what Seven Minutes in Heaven meant, let alone Sophomore; the spidery long titles made me feel Poetic. I was convinced Pete Wentz was the Bard of his generation. I still hadn’t seen any live footage of him goofing around onstage. I mostly thought of him in dark corners, sweeping his fringe aside, scribbling lyrics. Too much got spilled on the internet. I couldn’t believe when I found out he only played bass. 

Wasn’t there a gimmick with one of their albums, where you got special tarot cards if you pre-ordered? 

We used to stand on tables, chairs and cabinets back then, to get our selfies. Back then, they were prosaically named Profile Pics. You had to aim for a good mirror. The visible flash, you thought, was just a sunbeam addition to the general ~aesthetic~. You’d comment on each other’s photos, pc4pc. Like, Hello! It was good to get your legs in. Stripy knee socks or gauzy ripped tights. I wanted to wear a watch round my ankle like the lady with the white pumps at the party in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I put rubber bands round my hair, dying it semi-permanent blue or pink, trying to get ‘coon tails. I backcombed with a religious zeal, scrunching as I walked to maintain the buoyancy. Hairspray wafted around us; a flammable aura of considerable permanence. There was an imperative to asymmetry, to looking a little like a lamppost. We all wanted to be skinny, we wanted the biggest hair. 

I grew addicted to the bright, popcorn guitar licks. The sugary vocals. They spoke to someone that wasn’t me; there was this constant apostrophe of the lost girl, the lost boy, the key to a locked diary. I felt like a year would pass and I’d slip into these narratives, grow tall, smelling the gas of those cigarette lighters my friend used to rig to make the flames a foot high. 

I don’t blame you for being you / But you can’t blame me for any name. 

There was this corny idea of the rock show, everyone bobbing their heads in time. It was basically prom without the couples and expensive dresses. We all dropped weight for it, we all found a sweat in the rhythm and heat. When I got sick, I watched Kerrang! TV for hours, probably still playing my Game Boy or something. They’d show FOB videos more or less on repeat. I waited up for my crush on MSN, gossiped with friends; maybe there was something in that cyan-coloured comic sans font he used. We drank Jolt Cola cut half and half with Glen’s Vodka. An electric shandy, six times your daily recommended caffeine. Running down the beach. Emoticon wars. Back then in the middle of nowhere, a text was like a radar signal sent from the deep.

2018, I try gifting my cousin’s baby daughter with a Hello Kitty hair clip. She doesn’t get it.

I wrote all sorts of pop punk lyrics all over my Sports Direct trainers. I like to think I turned up to gym class with these crappy white trainers, each one adorned with My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me. My teacher looked me up and down with disdain. I imagined she listened to Meatloaf on the car to work each day, wolfing tuna sandwiches. She said my trainers were too ‘flat’. She dragged me out the library, where I was often skiving; she made me play badminton for hours. I liked to reach and aim, slam something delicate and thin to the ground. That was kinda how it felt being in the world, trying to fly out all light and free, then some dude with a bat just whacking you back down, crushed and moth-like. Playing badminton felt vengeful. There were spiders in the showers of the changing rooms afterwards. There were kids in first year who would throw golf balls over a fence to hit us. If they smashed a window, we’d get the blame. Some of us stole fags round the back of the gym block, looking out at the Carrick Hills.

Walking the crossroads was my favourite escape. I liked the bit that unfurled into greenery, sheep, rolling hills. Sometimes I’d be climbing Kildoon, sitting by the falls. That was learning to breathe again. When a lorry came, I felt the rush pass through me like a terrible swarm of ghosts. I was rattling. 

There were diet pills you crushed with pro plus, sipped with diet coke or JD. 

In The Virgin Suicides, Lux writes the name of her crush on her underwear. This is a false start, by any means. In writing we only possess a shard of some other self. It’s only ever temporary. The shape of ribs, a smile, the cut of your bangs or hipbones.

Imagine writing a name now. Keats Keats Keats. Each iteration a tiny seed. 

Sometimes I liked to just lie on the concrete. 

In town, loitering is our ontological condition. We exist for no other reason. We browse but never buy things. Some of us sneak lip glosses, necklaces, bars of chocolate beneath our sleeves. I had a friend that could even steal booze and pills. I’ve saved up my daily lunch money just to get here on Saturdays. In Burger King, we kill time and snort vitamins for kicks. A year before the haze of legal highs set in. We are so young. 

All our talk is just procrastination. I watch you try on neon sports jackets in TKMaxx and it’s the best best thing. 

In Chicago, they had a scene. Sufjan sang about it on some movie they showed, eventually, on Sunday TV. Little Miss Sunshine. I’m not saying I identified with the nihilist son, but…I wished sometimes it was acceptable not to talk. The less I ate, the less I spoke. That was liberating, I suppose. I was in love with the place, in my mind / In my mind. 

There was the Easter holidays we played football down the Low Green every day, the last time in that year I remember being truly happy. All sorts of drama happened, breakups and makeups, and we watched it roll out from a distance. Smoked occasional menthols, hid under climbing frames, spun each other round in the night till we were dizzy. I never once grew tired of waiting at train stations. I had my iPod, my violet-lined eyes, my dreams. 

We walked along the river sometimes, deep in the foliage, and joked about places you could get away with having sex in. We counted the bottles of Buckfast, watched out for insects. Nothing seemed alive in the undergrowth. 

At school, there were never any practice rooms free so we sat on the floors of corridors, playing our shitty guitars. ‘Californication’, over and over, following some half-arsed tablature. The solo to Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ (how joyous I’d be if I knew ten years on a friend would make a vapourwave remix). I had no time for it–I was never coordinated enough for those licks and chords–but having the guitar in front of you was a kind of protection. You could talk all nonsense and pretend to passing teachers that you were doing work. As if they understood the mysteries of music. Regularly, the tech teacher would ask me, whenever I came to school with my trombone, if I was carrying a machete, an AK47. I nourished a kind of inward, low-level fury. Sometimes, they’d drop pennies at our feet for a laugh, as though we were busking. I wondered about all that copper and metal: where it went, eventually.

We wrote a song that ripped off the chords to ‘Brain Stew’ and my amp blew up someone’s boyfriend’s laptop. On weekends, there were sleepovers and we’d stay up till the wee hours, breaking apart massive bars of Cadbury’s Caramel while chatting to folk on MSN, Chatroulette, the laugh track of Friends or Father Ted in the background. There were only two buses home a day, and the rhythm of my Saturdays and Sundays was governed by that. I liked arriving home, sleepily, forgetting I once had a routine. It was wholesome to lie on your bed, listening to Mogwai, slowly sinking.

Occasionally, we went swimming. 

There’s a MySpace still out there with all these photos, histories stripped of context. Many of them are in sepia, owing to some new effect I’d discovered on my phone. It was a slide-up phone, designed for playing music out loud. It was like I wanted every memory to be always-already history, taking those sepia pictures. You can’t tell our age, except from the expressions, the thinness of our wrists. It wasn’t that we were innocent as such, it was just that we didn’t care at all. It was written on our faces, this not caring. Soon to be fun, let’s see. 

Every lyric iteration of html inevitably fades. What minimalist temple I had designed, stamped with diamond symbols and Crystal Castles mp3s, has since crumbled. It was probably a rip-off anyway. Wanting to look like Uffie, wanting to be cryptic, aphoristic. Coveting emotions as metaphoric fruit. All those bulletins, midnight reveries stolen from time on the family PC, are deleted. The endless, self-questioning quizzes. We learned more about ourselves, about each other that way than we ever did in a PSE lesson at school. We trod a dangerous line, exposing our confessionals. Last time you cried, last time you kissed someone, who do you trust no matter what? Sometimes it bounced back in unfortunate ways. 

This has been said / So many times that I’m not sure if it matters. 

Kanye calls his kid Chicago. He has that song ‘Homecoming’, with the cute piano riff, a monochrome world. I get a kick out of every library book that was published in Chicago. I have no idea what it means. The pages are dull and yellow, the text swims in a sepia sea. I can’t listen to those albums again without feeling some predictive force, a face from the tarot. It’s like every fast food ad has a burger that looks identical to the last, as though every diner uses the same stock photo database. All our desires grow uniform, in the envy of hair and boys and all consumables. Circling back. Do you think about me now and then? 

In Ayr, there are twin roundabouts bordering the station. I always got lost, trying to drive through both of them smoothly. I always came back round, caught in the westward trajectories of the next, the lights from Morrisons carpark smouldering into a school night sunset. Mostly I miss the booze and the dunes, the clandestine sense of just being there, cutting about in front of the ocean. Cutting out time as a fact of the water, the light; sirens cloying the air behind us.