Thursday, November 17, 2005

My Confession

I’m told that I’m getting thin just at the age I should be getting fat, and last week the first Kate Bush album in twelve years was released in America.

Kate Bush and I were lovers. Our falling out was entirely my fault and had nothing to do with my brief but intense affair with Jane Siberry.

We were secret lovers and cohorts. I learned quickly that at parties, well after the buzzes were lit, the surest way to find the seducible women was to play one of my lover Kate’s albums. Women, their ears and minds still bruisebleeding from the concussion bombs dropped by Zeppelin and the whipsawing wankities of Skynyrd turned to see the woman who had dared to play Kate Bush and saw - - - me, attractive enough if not a God, standing there, a man of undrunken ungruntingness, and, well; Kate forgave me my infidelities because each girl was Kate.

Undrunken ungruntingness yes, stupid maleness, no. The flaky girlfriend: When with the boys, when it was just boys partying, I had to say to them, as they whoo-whooed their imitations of Kate’s songs, aw, I just listen to her for the sex. I couldn’t tell them I actually loved the music. I couldn’t say I actually loved her. Hasn’t everyone had a lover who fit every keynotch when just you two of you were together who, to your utter and irresistible moral cowardice, embarrassed that one part of you stronger than your love, that craven need to judge yourself as your friends see you? They would falsetto, ay, ay, babushka, babushka, babushka ya ya, and it was then I was shamelessly and unforgivably and irredeemably unfaithful to Kate. I left her, she didn’t leave me.

Years pass. You hear rumors: she’s coming back, and as long as they remain rumors self-castigation at your love’s failure before public opinion can be postponed. I’ve never stopped picking at scabs, of course, and I like to pretend I’m not a cutter, just magnetic to jagged edges and broken glass. But still: the justifying balms of demeaning the good memories: her songs were silly; it wasn’t all good times; and the burden of constantly indulging her eccentricities, which were never eccentric for eccentric’s sake, which perversely might have been better. Her demand for devotion.

And then she’s back. Older, like me. A parent, like me. Moved on, like me, except I haven’t. She’s still dippy sometimes, singing of washing machines here, singing the first six dozen decimal places of pi there. She get’s tired easier, running not up that hill but out of momentum within songs themselves. As in the old days when she wouldn’t listen to me, no one tells Kate that just because it’s a cliche, the adage that less is more just once in a while could be true, a lesson I’ve never learned either, though there are lesser songs here that need precisely more of her magic.

But Jeebus, she’s still beautiful, and those enchanted moments she looks up at you with those eyes and her voice caresses that gland in your brain where musical ur-endorphins zing, and she sings in that way and the music is that way and it says things that could only be said and sung that way: it’s love again.


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