Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book A Single Throat Opens, a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction (with Michael Schmeltzer), we will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends. (Get the whole list here.)
Only Dreams in Total Darkness
I tumbled to the very bottom of every truth to finish.* I often feel like the guilty party. Walking the dark hallways at night, stumbling on something I shouldn’t have seen, writing it down, sliding it across the table to you.
Some things will bring you to your knees before you can name them: stepping on a child’s Lego while you tiptoe through their room to watch their chest rise and fall with sleep’s breath; the sound of a firecracker, a car backfiring, a gunshot; the heavy smell of warm beer too close to your face, riding on the truth-less breath of someone you are meant to love; the taste of fresh cracked pepper you never add to anything because it transports you back to when you weren’t allowed to say no; the smell of a perfume you don’t know the name to; watching your elderly neighbor do his morning prayers before the sun rises, standing back up only with the help of his wife.
I cannot explain the impulse to write it all down, to sift through the cipher. But. We find ourselves on our knees in the dark, searching through the piles on the floor, trying to find that thing that means it was all a lie, something we made up. We want to shake the guilt of truth from us. Embrace it all as misremembered, jumbled dream, some delusional belief.
But. Lonely secrets don’t have to be so. From your first email in our collaboration: “I have no clue how you will react to it. I hope you see something worth saving.” Maybe that’s why we write out these secrets. To find something in others and ourselves that is worth saving. Even if it is the truth. Even if the truth is darkness.
*stolen from Michael Schmeltzer, here.