Week 451 // Outside

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Outside
There are paw prints
In the concrete
On the sidewalk
Outside

Outside
There’s a kid playing
And his brother
Called him ugly
Right outside

Outside
Outside

Outside
There’s a car parked
With a dinosaur
In the window
Outside

Outside
There is music
And it sounds just
Like a party
Right outside

Outside
Outside
Outside
Outside

Notes
I just returned from a long weekend camping in the woods with a renewed appreciation for the outdoors, and a truly fortified sense of connectedness with nature. That said, the serenity and unspoiled splendor out there don’t necessarily have to cast my neighborhood in negative contrast. Upon returning to Brooklyn, I also found that I had an invigorated interest in the spectacular mundanity of the everyday activity all around me. Regular folks doing regular stuff everywhere you look is pretty remarkable. It has its own wildness and wonder. I thought of writing about the trees, but looked out my window instead.

~M.E.

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Week 450 // A Voice

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I will not break out like this
I won’t cast off in a storm
I won’t set out for a thousand miles
I won’t stay up anymore
I will walk out on the street
And sit down on the curb
And when I hear a voice like yours
I will close both my eyes
Hold them tight
It isn’t anybody else
It isn’t anybody else

I will work out after work
I will watch what I eat
I won’t spend the weekend alone
I’ll tell you about people I meet
I will walk out on the street
And sit down on the curb
And when I hear a voice like yours
I will close both my eyes
Hold them tight
It isn’t anybody else
It isn’t anybody else

Notes
First let me clear the air: multiples of 50 used to be big anniversary occasions on this project. Actually, multiples of 25 were anniversary posts at one time too. I picked up that particular impulse from my comic book fandom. In that tradition, issues numbering multiples of 25 (especially during the 1990s collector/speculator boom, during which I was getting into the hobby) are typically double sized with extra content. Maybe it was week 250 or 350 that I decided to commemorate only multiples of 100 and yearly anniversaries. From where I stand, I’m blown away to be less than a year out from week 500. I wouldn’t want to dilute that impending milestone by making a stink out of 450. Apologies if you were expecting a retrospective, or a free download or something. I beg patience of you.

This song wears its point on its sleeve. I’m missing my wife, and trying to keep myself in line about it. There are romantic impulses to cross continents, or to set out to sea. There are lonesome impulses like spending too much time by oneself, or letting oneself go. There are delusions and fantasies of being near. These happen on both sides of the ocean. This song is about grappling with impulses and discipline, about trying to be better even when nobody is looking. It’s not necessarily about succeeding in being ones best self, but it’s about a good faith effort, and an honest emotion of longing that punctuates that effort.

~M.E.

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Week 449 // A Gesture

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I hear it then wait a while
The news is everywhere
The angels could overhear
They don’t mind
You could ask again

Scratching an itch
Oh the hurricane
Oh the forest fire
Soothing a thought again

Whoever wants to wait?
I’m a child with a dollar
The light on across the way
Always goes black again

Scratching an itch
Oh destruction
Reconstruction
Soothing a thought again

Notes
I recorded this song last Thursday and then set it aside. Listening back today, I’m interested in what I’m hearing, but I’m pretty fuzzy on what it’s trying to say. Some songs are written with such clear intention— a thesis, an argument, and a conclusion. Some have a defined personal arc, well-articulated tension, and satisfying resolution. Sometimes, the work is far more impressionistic, and that is the case here. There is a sense foreboding, contrasted by a feeling of calm. There are visions of catastrophe, but there are also impressions of personal spaces and intimate exchanges. Our societal anxieties inflect our quieter moments, and perhaps that’s what I was reaching for while writing this. That’s a subject I’ve gestured toward in the past, and one to which I suspect I will continue to return.

~M.E.

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Week 448 // Sun in Your Eyes

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Everything is
strange in the light
Everything is
The sun in your eyes
Everything is
Heading outside anyway

Notes
Today’s song took a comfortable form — one that I’m not certain I’m not repeating. That’s a tricky thing when you count to nearly 450. I’m okay with that. If I wasn’t okay with it, I doubt I could keep up with this project.

This song is the moment you leave the house, and it’s brighter than you thought it was going to be. It’s getting to the doorway and wanting to turn back because you didn’t think you’d need your shades. It’s stepping out into it.

I’ve felt this way a lot lately, and I’ve been trying encourage myself to adjust to the light. It’s the best thing when you think you want to hide away inside. The light is better than the dark.

~M.E.

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Week 447 // The Time

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I have hard time at night
I’m not afraid of that
Everyone asks me if I’m okay
I’m okay with that

The moment lose a word
When I’m alone

I have half a mind
To call it a day
No one could say anything
And it isn’t about
What you think it’s about
It’s not about anything

The moment I lose a word
When I’m alone
The time time doesn’t talk at all
When I am alone

Notes
I’m going to swear to you right now that if you’re a consistent listener, you’re not merely in for 9 more weeks of mopey sad songs about how I’m lonely about Rebecca going abroad for the summer. That said, here’s another mopey sad song about how I’m lonely about Rebecca going abroad for the summer.

It has only been a week and a day, so I’m going to cut myself some slack. It has legitimately been a tough week getting used to living alone for a little while. My spouse and I are pretty tight. That’s definitely a good thing. She hasn’t gone away for a similar protracted period since 2014. I’m not a weirdo for feeling disoriented. I don’t like to write fake songs. This mopey song is only as mopey as it needed to be.

~M.E.

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Week 446 // Overdoing It

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I make up my name
As I say it out loud
I screw up my face
When I hear how it sounds
I hide under stormdrains
And lurk all around
I ponder the savings
If I moved underground

I make up a story
And I tell if for fun
I make the details
Of wagers I’ve won
I make successes
And the days in the sun
I make excuses
That I point like a gun

I walk to the window
And I peek past the blinds
I ponder the subject
Of the passage of time
I think about justice
And folks who are kind
I think about summertime

Notes
Rebecca left yesterday to work abroad for the summer. She’s a way cool champion of human rights, and sometimes the world out there needs her for a little while. It’s a bit like when Captain Marvel went off to help the Skrulls find a new homeworld, but she still came back to Earth eventually to help kick Thanos’ butt. Essentially, my wife is an actual superhero.

All that said, I’m 32 hours into 10 weeks without her and I’m a bit sad. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m fine. I’m busy enough to distract myself from feeling lonesome for the most part, but it hasn’t even been two days, so I’m still indulging the deeper troughs of my emotional spectrum. It’s pretty natural. This song begins with the premise that solitude will be very bad for me, and then resolves that it’s fine for a while, as long as it’s for a good reason.

~M.E.

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Week 445 // Waking

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In the morning
In the morning I am waking
In the morning
In the morning sun is shining
In the morning
In the morning I see you
In the morning I am with you

Notes
At the last minute, I took Thursday and Friday off of work to venture into New England by car with my wife. The trip owed its spontaneity to the fact that Rebecca will soon be taking off to work abroad for ten weeks over the summer, and we have precious little time to spend together before she goes. We hadn’t had a lot of time together recently because of her law school finals, and we quickly remembered the rejuvenating and soul-satisfying effect of each other’s company. This is a simple song to reflect the moment of waking to remember that there was no need to rush to some other obligation. However fleeting it was, we had made real time to spend together, and it was good.

~M.E.

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Week 444 // (A Little) Uneasy

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The sound of rain
At two in the morning
I’m uneasy
I’m trying to find you
A mile up
Looking down at the city
It unhinges its jaws
And it eats me

And everyone knows
That the world is unkind
And it’s sinking its teeth
Deeper into us
And everyone knows
That the world is unkind
And it’s sinking its teeth
Deeper into us

I hear my favorite song
At the market
I sing along with the verse
Out of habit
I wander into the dark
For the chorus
Other people
Are polite to ignore this

And everyone knows
That the world’s a strange place
And when strangers aren’t strange
What’s so strange about them?
And everyone knows
That the world’s a strange place
And when strangers aren’t strange
What’s so strange about them?

The sound of rain
At four in the morning
You’d snuck in
And it’s pleasant to find you
From up here
I can see our apartment
Drifting down
I make circles around it

And everyone knows when they’re in the right place
Everyone knows when they’re in the right place
Everyone knows when they’re in the right place

Notes
This is a song about feeling a bit uneasy, having fitful dreams, and spending a bit too much time alone. I let this one resolve pretty naturally on a positive note, because, one way or other, that’s how this stuff eventually works out in my experience.

I haven’t written a song like this one in a little while. I don’t just mean the rhythm and the feel, which certainly mark a departure from my recent work. I mean that it has been a little while since I had a song that came organically through the works, a song with lyrics and melody that were allowed to develop and swerve through one another. I like the melody enough to let it stand on its own without harmony. I like the words.

~M.E.

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Week 443 // Stalling for Time

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I was not tired
I went to bed
I was not rested
I got up
I’m mindful that
The world expects
From each of us
A fixed amount
I count on factors I predict
And suffer variables abound
I stall for time
I keep it honest
Keep it honest with myself

Notes
Today is my 34th birthday. I like my birthday, so I’m glad about it. Still, I’ve been doing this project since I was 25 years old, so as I write this post on my Birthday, I’m compelled to ponder the passage of time on a scale greater than just the last year of my life. My life, and the terms by which I live it, has changed a lot. The sum of the world’s expectations of me has changed quite a bit. I do my best to keep up with it. It’s all a little complicated, so I tried to simplify it with three chords. I might have to act like I’m a grownup most of the time, but I’m still allowed to make it punk if I want to.

~M.E.

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Week 442 // A Morning in Spring

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Always the case
It all comes around
The spring will return to you
You’ll notice the sound

I was awake
I heard you stir
The song from the window sang
We knew all the words

Wait for the dawn
Wait for the morning light
Reaching its long fingers across the room
Settling on you as I look upon you
Wait for the dawn

Always like this
The deepest of blue
The flourish of amber tones
The arc we move through

Always like this
We wake and we go
We crack from the seams of us
Until we come home

Wait for the dawn
Wait for the morning light
Reaching its long fingers across the room
Settling on you as I look upon you
Wait for the dawn

Notes
This time of year, my neighborhood starts to wake up early. Later on, in the summer when the city gets hot, it won’t go to bed at all. This morning the birds awoke and announced themselves as the darkness was barely beginning to crack apart. Soon, the engines and stereos greeted me as I pondered the changing light and listened for the breath of my wife sleeping next to me. These morning moments are treasures, and they are also fraught with anticipation. I want to savor the sounds and sensations, but I’m acutely aware of what the light brings with it, and the inevitability of routine. Sometimes it’s lovely to awaken, and tragic to be awake.

~M.E.

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