I’ve been collecting music and pouring it into the coffers of my brain
since I was fifteen. It took a few years for me to understand
that the stereo inside my cranial walls needed more stuff to spin, so I
reached out in raven-claw fashion, stealing everything
I could get my ears on. Trailing behind me is the umbra
of a greedy teenage girl trapped in a good two-shoes, church girl headlock
while sneaking sonic pleasures through the back door of
her ears. Hey all you people that tryin’ to sleep,
I’m out to make it with my midnight dream.
Since then, I’ve been slapping up pictures onto my walls,
building rooms of encyclopedia between my ears,
stuffing reels of film away that curl up contently
in the back of my throat, just behind my uvula. I could
recite them for you, stringing ribbons of celluloid like
glossy pictorial speech through the chords of my voice box and
projecting the film over my tongue and past my teeth. Out from behind
that chorded gateway, I could sail my entire photo album of
scores, of movements, of fingers flailing the music off of strings;
of long-haired screams that could strip the velvet off the walls inside your neck,
of beat-box fury that could crack open your ears;
and of baselines kicking the Kundalini out of its tailbone home and
coiling up inside your sacral paradise. You men eat your dinner, eat your
pork and beans: I eat more chicken than any
man ever seen.
I have a line of braided leather threaded with
sun-studded silver conchos that I use for a spine. I have
fingers made out of Leonard Cohen and Arthur Rimbaud. I have arms
made out of an old steeple of broken brick red, planted without its church,
rooted singularly in the dirt on some street in Athens, Georgia. I have
Indians dancing inside my chest that have mistaken my heart for a drum, and there is
pale stick of a man wearing a long black flag for hair and
aquamarine marbles for eyes who dances with them. Above the chaos,
underneath my brow, there is a red-haired woman with a piano,
both held aloft by invisible wire. From the undercarriage of
her Bosendorfer, it is raining upon the heads of the revelers below. And
nobody knows this, but there is a garden where
the snakes have already entered in and apples on trees are extinct
because we started growing them In the pits of our chests. There is
a hard core heart, fruit-stripped, little black beady-eyed seeds exposed
where Eve has kneeled beneath that tree and jammed cobras
into her ears: sa re ga ma pa da ni sa. Her hips
undulate like she is spelling out slithers with them: listen carefully to the raga
she plays in the dirt beneath the knowing that blooms and spreads its arms
into a post-slumber sky. Look carefully: this Eve
has my face. The men don’t know, but the
little girls understand.
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson except for words in italics, which come from “Back Door Man” performed on The Doors’ 1967 self-titled debut. All rights reserved on material by N. Nicholson.
I thought about this prompt a little bit and two things came to my mind: 1) music, especially that of The Doors, is one of my “narrow, obsessive interests” characteristic of someone with Asperger Syndrome or in generally a person on the autism spectrum; and, 2) because of this, I “collect” music in a very broad sense: I constantly have songs playing in my head from everything I listen to, and I tend to collect a lot of knowledge about the music and musicians I love. As a result, I have near encyclopedic knowledge of some of my favorite artists, and I can replay entire albums in my mind. This poem was based on “Back Door Man” from the The Doors’ debut album.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the poem about one of my special interests. I look forward to seeing everyone else’s offering for the prompt.