Music Trumps the Alphabet

I spend all of my writing time this morning hunting high and low for the song.

After a fun-filled dose of Music as Medicine yesterday, I’m short on words and high on music.  Lots of fresh sounds in my ears bringing inspiration and the realization that sometimes letters of the alphabet just don’t cut it.

For instance, that song.  Sun Kil Moon‘s (aka Mark Kozelek) “Blue Orchid” has haunted me for years.  I recall one afternoon I just put it on repeat and probably listened to it ten times in a row.  Is it the chord progression?  The timbre of his voice?  The words of love, angels and a Paris hotel?  I really don’t know what it is about this song that moves me so deeply.  I do know that it seems impossible to put words to the essence of how it feels to hear those notes fill my ears.

So this morning I continued my search to be able to find some version to upload here.  Let the music play for itself.  No words, just a song.

But in all of my internet searches, I only found a handheld video bootleg of a live rendition in Portugal – terrible sound quality – and a woman’s You Tube photo collage with the song as the soundtrack.  Both seemed to detract from the song, itself.

What to do?

Write a post about the elusive tune that you can’t hear?

Then as the sun rose and my writing window slowly closed, I stumbled across something that will have to do.  A You Tube video featuring a still, black and white photo of a woman in shadows and scarves, accompanied by “Blue Orchids”.  I don’t know the origins of the photograph, but I’m feeling thankful for a means by which I can share the song (thanks FerventSylph).  One day maybe I’ll get the WordPress Space Upgrade and stream my own media.  For now, it’s You Tube City and Sun Kil Moon.

The Follow Up

When the doctor calls for a follow up to your ultrasound

You cry quiet tears when you’re told there’s another one on your ovary
try to see the bright side of the fact that it’s not cancer
you wake at 2am and spend hours on the internet looking for answers you know you will not find
you show up to the lime green decor of “101 Waiting” room
say ‘yes’ when they ask if a medical student can join in your conference with the doctor
you figure that we’re all learning here
you are surrounded by walls decorated with fallopian tubes and uteri (yes, that’s the plural)
your own ovary pulses
paper butterflies hang from the ceiling above the stirrup chair
you’re relieved when the doctor enters and says he remembers you
you’re mortified that the medical student is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome
you shake hands and settle in with your clipboard
you have your own copy of the report
you have your questions numbered one through seven
you know the difference between a functional and dermoid cyst
you have the latter
yes, the medical student has heard of them
but the doctor says you are a rare case
with a situation that would be referred to as “recurring”
you sigh relief when he says it is small enough just to monitor
no need for surgery at this time

on your way home you stop at the department store
and decide to buy yourself a new bra
you haven’t done this in three years
there’s a two-for-one special called “double trouble”
and you ignore the fire-flaming label
buy your bras
and exit through the valentine’s day lingerie

at home you try to write about your experience
but it’s all too close and tight
you have an hour before you go to get your son
you take a walk to let the worries to the wind
allow your mind to simply wander
as your breath falls in step with waves

carpenters cut at the seaside house
the air smells like sawdust and salt
in the pavilion an elder chants a language you’ve never heard
while dancers in ti leaf skirts
clack sticks with their partners
the sounds are primal
ancient and alien
her call and their response
the click of stick against stick
hits your heart with the deepest of feeling
a place beyond words that brings tears
tourists are snapping photos
and you walk by longing to stay
but sobs could come
and their dance so sacred
you’re already too close just by breathing

photo by Jessica Dofflemyer - all rights reserved

you wonder what it is
these things that touch you beyond what words can name
the chant of another tongue
your father’s poem
that one song by sun kil moon

beside you and your womb and your grateful heart in wonder
the big pool is lapping gently
the peace of its stillness
the solace and the calm
it’s a wait and see
right now just being
quiet with this comfort