“heirlooms / a loon”

"I can't drink this coffee til I put you in my closet..." Kirstin Hersh

Music to shed by.

Like a time machine, Kirstin Hersh’s song, “A Loon,” spins me back to the agitation and healing of the 1990s, perfect soundtrack for peeling off layers of emotional scar tissue.

Anger, barely contained within the sing-song, Hersh’s album, “Hips and Makers,” was a favorite for a certain slice of my therapy.  When her song, “Your Ghost” reappeared and began to haunt me recently, I ordered a copy of the CD, which arrived today.

Listening to these songs is like listening to the echo of a loon calling back through the years.  I love how opaque and personal some of her lyrics are; we’re invited into her head (I’m butchering the line breaks  here, adding breaks to denote pauses in the sung song in “A Loon”):

Some store

I’m not going back there any more
wandered in

don’t think I’ll do that again
no I

don’t think I’ll do that again.

I swear you

look at me cross-eyed and I

don’t know what to do
no I

don’t know what to do

crazy loon.

(Then there’s this mad catharsis in the music, then this quiet little afterthought:)

There’s a room in his pallet
there’s a pillow for his head
sees an offshoot in his bottle
when he wants to see me dead
heirlooms

a loon.
Never thought I’d see that silly grin
never thought I’d see that fool again
never thought I’d like that lunatic.

Nothing left to dance around
what a hero
what a black and blue bird
what a loon a loon
what a loon a loon.

Loons nested on the pond by Med-O-Lark, where I worked as a camp counselor back in those days.  Loons only nest on very clean water.  Surrounded by teen angst, this loon pond was where I first heard of the Indigo Girls, where “Closer to Fine” and their other anthems blazed across me and rooted into my synapses.

Indigo Girls was for the surface; others helped peel off underlayers.  Kirstin Hersh helped.  Tori Amos, in “Little Earthquakes,” provided more obvious pumice.  Still does, when needed.

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