August 14, 2010

“I’ll be damned

here comes your voice again

it’s not unusual

it’s just that the moon is full

and you happened to call”

~ Joan Baez, “Diamonds and Rust”

My brain has stored somewhere the exact phrases that go with everyone I know.  The words they say in a particular way that belongs to them.  The intonation no one else can quite match.

Every so often someone else uses the same words differently, and I’m immediately smacked in the head.  The signal races through my mind to connect that instant to the one in which I heard those words before.  It’s almost like talking to the other person, the one whose name is on the original copyright.  It is very, very unnerving.

It gets worse when that person is dead because for half a millionth of a second I see them alive again.  I could be forgiven for thinking they were, if only for the space of that neural stutter, the tiny overlap in frequency.  It throws me off for the rest of the day.  Just when I think I have fought it down, back it comes.

Some people fix this by starting to talk in churches and at graves.  It makes them feel reconnected.  Those they loved are not so far gone.  But if I never really lost that connection, it all becomes too real.  I don’t need another round with those memory-tipped knives.

I am not silent because I do not care or because I have nothing to say.  I am silent because it is all I can do to keep from crying.  Behind these walls of skin and bone I can scream without any words at all, a self-contained explosion.  No outward trace except a flicker in my eyes.  And then move on.



  1. I am so sorry! It sounds like you are in so much pain. Please take care. That song has always made me feel torn inside. I hope you are not.

  2. I’m alright. These things just sideswipe me sometimes, and it takes a while to shake it off. But I’m okay. Thanks for asking.

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