Monday, February 21, 2005

Being myself is perfect

At the four nations slam, Barbara Adler read a poem that seems to be called several things, Music, First Sundays and Meow Meow Meow. When it was sent to me the file it came in was called the last, the header it came with said the middle, and Barbara says it's called the first. I suspect it's actually called Music. I also suspect that the title doesn't actually matter.

I resonated with a line in the poem at the time and so I asked Barbara for the words. She was kind enough to send me them this morning. The line reads "as if just being yourself was enough to be perfect". It reminds me of December when Buddy Wakefield read his poem at Hammer and Tongue that contained the line 'have you ever dreamed of living for a living'.

What I didn't appreciate at the four nations slam but do now, was the context in which Barbara wrapped the line. So here is the third verse from Music. I think it gives you the idea.

And this is the kind of easy
that is simple to snicker at in your 20s
the age of irony that is so ironic it has to point itself out as being irony
but despite this disability
I somehow got to hear the story
of how back in the 14th Century
when musical notes were first being standardized in the European monasteries
monks would be lined up in a row
and starting at the low bass they all sang
as far as they could go in their range
until they reached the highest note
each pitch matched to a monk
to make the scale so that according to this tale
C, or Do is actually Joe Monk from hundreds of years ago
singing at his limit
or rather setting it
as if just being yourself were enough to be perfect
and I guess there are some lucky souls
who spend their whole lives knowing this kind of bliss
but as my mantra has always been
please, make fun of me
I’m insecure and I like the attention
it doesn’t get much more mind blowing than this
imagining a world where the standards were based on you own limitations
so that for instance,
the definition of pants
would be that exact length of fabric
which precisely covers my leg
being good enough
without even having to try

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