I have a confession to make: I haven’t been faithful to my own exercises. I haven’t been drafting responses to the prompts that I’ve been writing. You already know this if you’re a GoogleReader subscriber or another variety of regular visitor, because you took note of the way I skipped two posts this weekend. I don’t apologize. I was driving to New York City, and my absence is, by my standards, excused. But still. I’ve failed, leaving blank pages where I should be crafting responses to my own efforts at squeezing out our collective creative juices.
My friend, Jenn, made me respond. She sometimes makes me do things I didn’t intend or want or plan. She’s a junkie for a challenge; if you knew her, you’d see how it flows so naturally. And so many days the flow is unto me, forcing me out of my comfort and into unnatural poses, positions, postures. What results is praise. It’s good, this process, this intersection where we engage.
Marc Broussard sang me into hours of wandering around with my own words this afternoon with his Beauty of Who You Are. The lyrics swim in and out of seamless lines like this: There’s a soft sweet space on the back of your neck/Smells like rain/There’s a way you look at me baby/Heals my pain/I’ve studied every inch of your body/Baby what’s on your mind/The touch of your skin just pulls me in/Every single time.
They’re words I wish I’d have said first.
His lyrics are intimate, but not sexual in an uncomfortable way. I don’t know what he means when he says “touch of her skin,” but if cut and pasted into my life, they don’t mean anything they shouldn’t mean. They mean my hand, his fingers laced with mine when he calls for my paw, he means my bare, sunstruck shoulder in the summer, he means his thumb a brush over my temple when my hair falls in my face on the subway platform and my gloves are snug over my hands. He doesn’t mean every actual inch. Not today anyway.
He doesn’t mean my stomach when my shirt creeps up; is that what they think? He doesn’t mean sneaking up my legs, cheating my skirt or my shorts for a rush. He doesn’t mean his hand on my back, skin on skin, sensual, creating heat, more than what’s already burning between us. Lustful child’s play doesn’t know this kind of intimacy. If Broussard sings about lust, he has me fooled and the pieces don’t quite fit.
With invisible seams, Broussard stitches these last lines in: You are a sensual salvation/You’re the holiest temptation/Baby I’m never, never, never gonna be the same/I can’t explain it or begin to conceive/All I know is that you make me believe.
Holiest temptation is my favorite line. Maybe for the supposed paradox in its nature. Maybe for hours of philosophical depth I can see it cultivating. Maybe for the way, when I stop to think about how these months have stacked up, the play on words starts to soak, naked, towel around the waist, in a sauna of truth.
Tempted without pause, without break or breath or aberration, but never the negative pull, the spiral of sin, the darkness that swallows us whole, isolating from all that which is good. Never once. Only freedom and moving forward. Temptation takes on a connotation of a different nature, just for an artistic moment. Just to shift perspective, to shine light, to reflect a slice of beauty in this intimacy. I can dig that.
So Broussard had me wrapped up today, humming his lyrics, adopting them as my own for the day. Pretending I had written them. Maybe even slipping for an unnoticed second into cryptomnesiac state to take them as mine own, though it will be no fault of my own (see Willet).