Wants me broken;

Wants me burned.

Washes my mouth out

With the script of right words.

 

Yet…

I am a wild thing;

A cataclysmic song.

Break apart in earthquakes

When the perceptions are too strong to belong.

I’d be a super-hero.

You’d want me on your side,

If what I felt wasn’t measured out

In so many wrongs and not enough rights.

 

Gather together

All ye manual laborers!

Ye students of the calm!

I never got the notice;

I missed the trumpet call.

When you feel too much is precisely when

You’re to show nothing at all.

Be broken.

Be burned.

Memorize the script.

Memorize the words.

(in no particular order and by no means exhaustive)

 

In a nook in a bookstore near Notre Dame

 

Margaritas On the Rocks with Salt

Multiple Orgasms

Jeni’s Ice Cream (Brown Butter Almond Brittle. Brambleberry Crisp. I could go on.)

Freshly Bleached Kitchen Sink

Rufus Wainwright

Perfectly Ripe Avocados

The Smell of Books

Clean Sheets After a Shower & a Shave

The Popping & Cracking of a Fire (contained, preferably, although I like ‘em wild, too.)

Four Syllable Words

The Oregon Coast

Vincent Van Gogh

Salt Water Taffy

Laughing with Erin

Pianos Brought to Even Temperament

3D Scientific Models

Ravi’s Butter Chicken

Headphones

Zack’s Lips & Eyes & Other Things As Well. ;-)

Red Wine

Word Games

Passport Stamps

Lamplight

Maps

Acronyms

Hot Air Balloons

Thick Socks on Slick Floors

Butterscotch

Film Cameras

Danny Kaye

Imagining Being Very Very Small

Paris in the Fall

Paris At All

Stretching

Triscuits

Stephen Sondheim

The Scientific Process

Words

Words

Words

 

I sent this as an email to info@glenhansardmusic.com today in an attempt to surprise Zack. Zack is on a social media sabbatical right now and so he doesn’t know I’m doing this. I even logged onto his Twitter account (I changed all of his passwords) to see if I could get people to help me get Glen and his people’s attention. I decided to put the email into a blog form, too, to see if people would share it. Hopefully if enough of you share it, maybe we can get Glen’s attention!

 

Hi there!

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you — you anonymous person, you. I mean, I don’t think you’re anonymous intentionally, and you’re not anonymous to the people who know and love you, but currently you’re anonymous to me and so I shall have to muddle through my greeting to you. However, I do hope this finds you well and in lovely spirits.

 

I surprised my husband, Zack, this Christmas morning with tickets to see Glen play in Birmingham, Alabama on Feb. 2nd. It’s the closest Glen will be to Atlanta. A few years ago, for Zack’s birthday, we flew to NYC to see Glen play. Around that time Zack got ahold of Glen via Twitter and asked if he could take Glen’s portrait. (Zack is actually a well regarded photographer, and while he’d never say it himself, he’s a kick-ass photographer, but I digress.) From what I remember Glen was totally down with the idea, and even gave Zack his number, but something happened (I can’t remember now what it was) and he didn’t get the chance to do the portrait.

 

So, I’m writing to see if I could surprise my husband EVEN more with the opportunity to take Glen’s portrait in Birmingham?

 

You can vet Zack here and here and here to be sure he’s not a creepy weirdo. Check Twitter, ask anyone. They’ll tell you, “Zack is awesome! He should totally take Glen’s portrait!”

 

What do you think, anonymous? Can you help me out? I adore my husband and really want to make this happen. Pretty please. He’ll poop his pants. Not literally. Well…I hope not.

 

I’ll bring him a change of clothes just in case.

 

Thanks for your time.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Meghan Arias

Two Birds

August 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Made two people with two people.

Out of youth, one; out of love, two.

(“The clouds look like mountains or castles or both and I just want to be with you.”)

Carried them both in the same little room; a space in my body

Universe filled with atoms collecting, it all coalescing

Into bodies brand new.

 

Thirty-six moments (A.K.A. thirty-six years)

Out of time, three; out of sight, four.

(Caught up to the age of the death of a girl who was so old to the people she’d made.)

And what about them?

How would they know that she was just one flake

In a whole lot of snow?

Where we are all falling

We are all falling

Yes, we are all falling

So where do you want to go?

 

Birds, if you need a people, a person to blame

Hold out your wings and I’ll give you my name

Out of words, five; out of excuses, six.

Can’t make amends for all that was battered and bruised yet

I shall always carry you

‘Cause we are all falling

We are all falling

Yes, we are all falling

But what do you have to lose?

I came across this today and wanted to share because it beautifully says what I feel and have yet to be able to formulate words for.

 
“When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world — not even in infinite space. I was free — free to think, to express my thoughts — free to live to my own ideal — free to live for myself and those I loved — free to use all my faculties, all my senses — free to spread imagination’s wings — free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope — free to judge and determine for myself — free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past — free from popes and priests — free from all the “called” and “set apart” — free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies — free from the fear of eternal pain — free from the winged monsters of the night — free from devils, ghosts and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought — no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings — no chains for my limbs — no lashes for my back — no fires for my flesh — no master’s frown or threat – no following another’s steps — no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain — for the freedom of labor and thought — to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains — to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs — to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn — to those by fire consumed — to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still.”

- Robert G. Ingersoll

 

Well said, good sir, well said. I only wish you were alive today so that I may shake your hand.

 

I find that I fade out of moments and struggle with words I fear are wrong.
Caught up in upheaval, longing for the ability to keep my eye on the ball.

My dreams disturb me, the players never right, all the wrong characters coming and going, kissing my mouth and I blush, turn around, and close my eyes.

Where is the even-tread?
We stare into mirrors lovely, tired, worn, and console ourselves with pots of colours,
with notions,
with idealism run rampant born from a magazine.
I see a girl. Reciting words to her mother,
“This means family, this means love.”
She calls her mother a bitch, stares hard to hurt, her mother withdrawing in pain.
I watch that embrace.
I hate that girl,
these girls,
those girls
with their mothers.
They do not know how good they have it.

We have the smoking gun.
We have so much to lose.
We have run hard to ignore.
We have our projections to share.
My revenue is dropping.
My profit is waning.
My status is under review.
My outlook is revised.
Here is a sprinkling of words that mean nothing to you.
I toe the line, I dive right in
but without the optimism he tends to pretend.

You light my fervor
You stop my waning woebegone Sundays on fire.

You tickle my fancy maybe

you speed up my heart,
a low-battery jump start and a
Pop Pop Pop
of my love is jumping out at me.

I would write you a song we all could sing and hope you’d remember me but I don’t have it in words, just love.

Mitch and Manda

February 15, 2014 — 2 Comments

While driving through Alabama or Mississippi, (I don’t remember which as they sort of blend together a bit) I looked up at a bridge that I was passing under, a small one, nothing fancy, just your typical ol’ overpass. And there, on the side, in blazing, blue letters was:

MITCH AND MANDA

I immediately began to wonder about these two. Was it possible that they were the Romeo and Juliet of their bit of the world?

Was it a mean joke that some guys pulled on their buddy, Mitch, linking him with the local, hirsute laundromat owner?

A hopeful youngster pining for the town prom queen?

Or maybe it was her? Maybe Manda herself walked down the aisles of the local Wal-Mart and picked out the just-right perfect shade of blue.

I thought about these names a lot over the weekend.

First off there’s the glaringly obvious point (at least to me) of why?

Why, and how.

I remember when I was little wanting very much for people to know that I existed. I would write messages and send them off in helium balloons, my own proverbial messages in the bottle, not even hoping for an answer really, just putting myself out there.

I did get a response once from a lady in South Carolina.

“Dear Meghan,

Your poem was very nice. Thank you for sharing. The bit about the clouds was sweet. Your Mother must be very proud.
You should know however, that it’s not a good idea to let balloons go into the air. When they pop, birds and animals sometimes try to eat the pieces and then they slowly choke on them and die.

Take care,

Mrs. Something or another”

So, I didn’t do that anymore.

 

I think I do understand what would compel someone to, for instance, write their name in the sidewalk or to declare their love on an overpass. It’s being able to go back to a specific place and say,

“Look. I was here. I did something. It was stupid and badly done, but I made a mark. People will see my name for a long time.”

How silly we are. I am very guilty of this. I know that those I love see me, and know me, and think that I’m great, and yet I want to see a tangible something that I have contributed in one way or another.

I don’t think I’m doing a very good job trying to make my point. If I ever had one.

Can’t you just see it, though? Mitch with his paint can, slightly drunk, perhaps Manda is with him, and they’re staggering out of the car and across the road to the other side and he’s yelling,

“I’m gonna show ev’ry one that we’s goin’ out!”

She’s giggling and saying,

“Miiiitch, you’re sooo crazy…”

Or maybe Mitch and Manda have been married five years already now and on the morning of their five year anniversary Mitch awakes and thinks,

“I know just what I’m going do to surprise her…”

Every times Manda drives to town for milk she sees her name linked with Mitch and gets just plumb tickled at how “romantic that man is and all…”

Was it hard, I wonder? Was it tricky? Do you need a lookout to tell you when cars are coming? What if a police car came by?

“Oh, hello there sir…oh, the spray paint? This? Um…I was just out walking on this random overpass in Alabamippi or Mississama in the middle of the night and…tripped over the can sitting here and it got all over me.”
When I think about it, it becomes sort of romantic, sort of goofy, the cement version of the heart carved into the tree trunk. How nice.

Wanderlust

February 15, 2014 — 1 Comment

What to say. It’s 3:30am. I should be sleeping. I have far too much rolling around in my head. I have the strangest sensation of wanting to just pack up and go somewhere.

77 degrees. Streetlight outside and a halo of fluttering creatures drawn to the light. My slumbering gardenia bush. Catch-me-if-you-can front yard but watch out for the hill, you could fall down, scrape a knee or two.

In the window next to me sits myself, typing just like I am. Only my other me is in the sleeping gardenia bush, balanced lightly on top, hovering in midair.

Let’s go on a trip. Find some roadside restaurant, meet a waitress named Jackie who has blonde hair piled high and calls us, “Sweetie.” Watch as she pulls a pen from her hair somewhere, cocks her hip ready to write. Order the special with fries and talk about Life and Love and how you can’t separate the two.

Hit the road – no maps – just plenty of conversation and a book that shows you where all those awful tourists traps are; let’s go see the big ball of rubber bands. I’ll roll down my window, turn on the oldies station and stick my hand outside, feel the currents, pretend it’s an airplane. We’re in slow motion, this is where the rain could start and then we’re through that patch and looking behind to see how very dark, look how dark is that sky.

Stop by some ocean for a brisk swim, get the sand all over everything, in our sandwiches, in our ears. Just for one day though, I don’t want to have to use too much aloe lotion. I burn easily and not just literally. Stick around for the sunset and I would tell you a story about the time when my sister and I swam out to a big boat full of men who catch fish for a living. Big, burly men with loud voices, real, working hard, strong.

We stood chest high in the water, watching them pull in thousands of fish with their nets, while we shrieked as the fish that escaped tickled our legs. Let’s pretend we’re mermaids, let’s pretend we’re looking for our dolphin friends, let’s pretend.

How we waved to our mother on the beach. And she’s calling us in, it’s time for her to check us, rub us down with lotion again, smooth our faces with mother hands, and are you hungry? We should’ve kept waving, she died a few months later. And now I’m aching.

I look at mirrors, watch them change while I stay the same. Our scenery is lovely, I try to take it all in. Play my game where I see how long I can keep counting white dashes. They’re like train cars, you have to stay ahead of them or you’ll lose track.

It’s my time to drive now, you sit back. I’ll drive in the dark, lights on, music low, empty roads that will start to call us home.

Canyon Cake Maker

December 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

I was walking the edge of the canyon line–

Slipped and fell into that great divide–

All that caught me was memory and time;

A ledge on the outer edge of my mind.

I had been making cakes for everyone,

Watching them eat and leaving me crumbs;

A drill sergeant for an army of sons–

A mask so heavy it made me go numb.

 

I have dollars and plastic,

My head has a roof,

My body a bed and my body no bruise,

Fingers are warm; my belly is fed

But that means nothing when you’re fucked in the head.

Dare I long for more when at least I have bread?

When that far away child is quite close to death?

But who’s to say they wouldn’t want the same,

If they stood where I stood and had my same name?

 

Needed to find a place to belong–

Wanted to right the wrongs with a song–

The words they tumbled out of my hands,

And the melody left me for another man.

So just let me lay here for a long while–

Ledges are better than falling for miles–

My mind is slipping, my heart so tired

From everything of me that has been required.

 

 

Stardust…

November 29, 2013 — 9 Comments

Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who read and commented on my “coming out” post. Your comments were kind and a lot nicer than I thought they were going to be. A lot of atheists report horrible backlash when they finally decide to share with people about their atheism. Atheists are viewed by a lot of people as evil and lacking in morals. One study found that people distrust atheists more than rapists.  My decision to tell everyone about my atheism was, in some ways, directly tied to this stigma; I want to give a voice and face to what an atheist looks like. There are so many people out there who are atheists or agnostic (I’m going to write a post about that later) and most of us don’t even know it.

 

Now, on to the actual point of this blog post.

 

I wrote the song Stardust back in July (of 2013) sitting in a south facing 20th floor apartment in Manhattan. It was sweltering hot in the city; the heat indexes were some of the highest in recorded history. The apartment was only slightly cooler as the A/C unit struggled to keep up with the temperatures. The view, however, was incredible as the picture window took up almost the whole south wall of the apartment; the Freedom Tower the primary focus. And how could it not be? The southern Manhattan skyline once more dominated by a towering height of steel and glass. There was a guitar in the apartment and as I sat on the bed strumming the strings, I was ruminating on the damage that “faith” (a word Peter Boghossian defines as “Pretending to know things you don’t know.”) has had on humanity. All the things that people have done because “God” told them to, or because they had “faith” that it was the right thing to do. To be sure, it wasn’t Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers, no. It was a group of people who ardently believed that Allah wanted it; people who believed just as firmly as the Christians; just as firmly as the Hindus; just as firmly as the Jews; just as firmly as the Mormons, etc. that what they believe is the ONLY right way to believe.

I thought to myself, How profoundly sad that most of us live waiting for an afterlife. That people think, “One day I will be in heaven and won’t have to deal with any of this anymore.”

I want to live for now. I want to die trying to make the most of NOW.

And so the words poured out:

 

Waste away in buildings built

To ease our sorrow, ease the guilt

Supplicate to the up above

Hate to say no one’s listening, love.

 

Time was lost to a fairy tale

Forbidden fruit that led to nails

And born to see but rendered blind

By mankind to save mankind

 

Oh we’re stardust

And we must

Make the most of this

While we’re breathing

No more living

For after dying

No, I’ll die trying

To make the most of now

Darlin’

 

Ate the body, drank the blood like

Every good boy and girl should

Babies raised on bread and wine

Let your little light shine

Oh let it burn

Let it shine

Oh watch them burn

 

(CH)

 

The amazing Deke Spears, producer and musician and friend extraordinaire.  Shot with a Yashica Mat-124.

The amazing Deke Spears, producer and musician and friend extraordinaire. Shot with a Yashica Mat-124.

Below is a rough recording of the song that I started with Deke Spears. The song is still in its infancy. Deke and I recorded in the performance hall at KSU – he played the acoustic guitar and I played the gorgeous Steinway Grand piano and sang. We messed around with backing harmonies and then, later, Deke threw some drums and bass on the track to see how it felt. I’m not sold on it but it’s all I have to share with you right now.

The gorgeous Steinway Grand I was honoured to play.

The gorgeous Steinway Grand I was honoured to play. A blurry shot taken with my Yashica Mat-124.

Please know that it’s not mixed or mastered and most likely will end up sounding different. However, I’ve found that nothing I do will ever meet the standards I have in my head, nothing will ever be perfect enough, and so I need to get over my stupid self and share whatever it is that I have at that time. Capiscé? Hate it? Love it? What do you think? Be honest. Honesty is a very very good thing.

Many thanks, everyone.

 

( By the way, I know that some of you are going to hate this; it’s going to make you very uncomfortable. I’m sorry for that and yet, I really hope that this gives you reason to consider why you believe what you believe. Stretch your brain a bit, it won’t kill you. I promise. ;-) )