single post related, no meta

Once in a blue moon

Once in a Blue Moon: Minneapolis, Minnesota.

With my book
and my pen
and behind the counter
a girl with blue hair serves the java
and Ani Difranco provides the backdrop
of yet another alternative coffee shop
just like the one I worked at way back when

we had her first album then

the one with
both hands, now use both hands, oh no don’t close your eyes
I am writing graffiti on your body, i am drawing the story of how hard we…

I find myself tight inside, a seatbelt of anxiety across my chest:
it’s this perpetual drive to be the best
but what can I say
it’s been an insecure day
I’m feeling unsure of my edges
I’m feeling unsure of what my own edge is
I’m feeling blunt and dull
more of a spoon than a knife, more nap than nightlife
and what kind of artist wants to be a ladle?
what kind of artist wants to be asleep at the table?
Not me of course
I want to be the one splitting the silence with my words
chopping convention with my axe

I don’t sleep well these days, I never seem to relax

we’re all trying so hard
me and my friends
for those small pieces of pie, these minor dividends
our face in the paper
the end of being a waiter

the girl with the blue hair who is serving the coffee
is talking to a girl with orange hair about Ani

orange hair says i love this album
yes, says blue hair, i think it’s her best one
orange hair says have you heard reveling, reckoning?
blue hair says no
orange hair says oh, you should come over this weekend, and I’ll play it for you

outside the snow falling on the eves
inside, I sip my fairly traded tea-leaves
as orange hair and blue hair start talking about gender
outside the window, two cars collide in a fender-bender
the icy roads a slippery surprise
a reminder of how fast we can slide, collide

and it’s funny but it doesn’t feel like that long since Ani arrived
on the scene
but what is this now, album number seventeen?
I think I lost track
sometime back in the late 90’s
after I heard her siren call
and I started writing my own songs
and now look at us all
a movement of girls with our own guitars
criss-crossing the continent in our little cars
hoping not to be compared
and today maybe I’m just scared
that the world doesn’t need me, or any of my friends
and we’ll all wind up working in a coffee shop again
listening to someone else’s songs on the radio
instead of driving through the snow
to another gig
hoping this will be our big
break, hoping ours
will be the once in a blue moon star
to skyrocket to the top

You know it’s funny, but I’ve seen these two girls before somewhere
with their funky glasses and their chunky hair
and their bell hooks books
if I’ve seen them once, I’ve seen them a thousand times
heard this conversation that runs along the same lines:

orange hair holds forth
about how she herself doesn’t want to be filed on a shelf
gender is fluid: she doesn’t really feel a need to identify either way
gender is just a construct, and being gay
is so much more than being a boi or a grrrl, being a woman or man
and if Ani can get married, well then anyone can
surprise us: all that matters is what’s inside us
gender is fluid, they agree with authority
as though this is the first time these things have ever been said
like these are concepts they’re inventing, not something they recently read

fluid, like liquid
like the tea that’s in my cup
and i look down and I think:
well for god’s sake, drink up!
this is identity you’re consuming
this is the smell of gender, brewing
the water that flows inside me
my fluid, watery humanity

and I could tell blue hair, lately, I’ve taken to crying into my cup
just crying gently, just to watch the cup fill back up
art giving no points for imitation
leaving no choice but re-invention
and yes, Ms. Difranco, all your innovation is an inspiration
but now your album’s over
I can drink my tea
with no further challenge to my own artistic identity

thank god I never wanted to do the big band thing
or I’d never have another peaceful cup of coffee again

A phone rings: it’s mine. I take it out of my bag
you say how are you darling?
I say rung out like a wet rag

you say oh, how did it go? How was the show?
I say I don’t know some days why I persist
in pursuing
it seems all I’m doing is reheating
not brewing.
Well it’s good to keep warm, you say, cause it’s starting to snow
and here at home, it’s 29 degrees below
I say, I’m on my way
I’ll be home soon
I’m just on my way now
out of
Once in a Blue Moon.

© evalyn parry (SOCAN) 2007 all rights reserved

This poem can be found on evalyn’s album Small Theatres