Week 363 // Us Humans

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The morning tries to break
The fabric of the night

The mist is strange today
It pulls the light apart

I can’t adjust
The finer edges of my sight

Like most,
I shun the darkest motions of my heart

Are you one of us?
Have you bowed your head into your hands
And raged the passing of your plans?

Were you here before?
Did you crack the ice and peer beneath
The blue and murky colors of the deep?

Another person struck the pavement
WIth his hand

Another person bled
And marveled at the pain

Some other person cried
The night the war began

And someone else called out
To give the war a name

Are you one of us?
Have you bowed your head into your hands
And raged the passing of your plans?

Were you here before?
Did you crack the ice and peer beneath
The blue and murky colors of the deep?

Did you whisper in your sleep?
Are you one of us?

Notes
I have had bits and pieces of this song’s guitar part percolating for quite some time, perhaps even for several months. It was a little run that I would play idly, and I didn’t think much of it. I liked playing it, but the bouncy melody didn’t inspire me enough to bring a song home. I didn’t realize that in order to make this song work, I might need to counter the cheerful fizz of the guitar lick by providing a darker contrast in the lyrics.

This song is about living with our memories, and the daily work of distracting ourselves from our darkest corners. Maybe it is a necessary impulse to push certain things aside, to try to be a lighter self, to play a more cheerful melody. We don’t usually want to frame our pain and put it on the wall for everyone to see. But we also have a lot to learn from the encounter with our tougher memories. I think the tension between avoidance and acceptance of the past is uniquely human. It requires the capacity to understand the linearity of experience, but also the vulnerability to which memory subjects us. The past is in the past, but we also carry it with us everywhere we go. “Us Humans” is a song exists at the nexus of that tension.

~M.E.

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