Today’s a great Monday because Youth Lagoon just released a song from their upcoming album! This band is especially special to me because I’ve got great memories of awkwardly standing alone in a dark room and listening to them jam. Really, it was great!

Happy Monday. Try not to do anything too awkward today. Tell me what you’re listening to!

The Knower – Youth Lagoon

The Tea Song – Michael Hurley

You Can Have It All – Yo La Tengo

Wakin on a Pretty Day – Kurt Vile

Philomena – The Decemberists

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1. You must earn respect again and again. It is not a birthright. It doesn’t come from a title, even if you think it comes from a title, even if it seems to. You have to prove yourself, always, forever, until you die. And then maybe the respect or the disrespect people held for you will live on.

2. Everyone’s already finished the new season of Orange is the New Black. So, now that you’ve got some free time, you should binge watch Grace and Frankie!

3. I love so many people so much and it’s so wonderful.

4. “I can dig it.”

5. Hey guys, maybe we should be more concerned about the planet than like, kim kardashian, whoever that is? Just a thought.

6. Why are you not internet stalking me enough?!

7. Breaking News: White boys white girl dance, too! I’ve seen it! With my very own eyes! Now excuse me, I have to go flail my arms around to this music.

8. Go outside!

9. He has a selfie stick but I still like him. Which is impressive. Although, selfie sticks are becoming more acceptable generally. I think it all started in Asia and then maybe someone flew one over to the States and the rest is, um, selfie history! I could really talk about this forever. Shall I go on?! I won’t. #selfiesticks

10. I am not afraid of many things, but, expressway construction is terrifying. Please stop making me drive in pretend lanes you basically drew with sidewalk chalk and built solid concrete walls around! Thanks!

Can you hear yourself talking? Sometimes all I hear is the loud noise that comes from your lips. The whining empty words that don’t mean anything, the drift-less thoughts, the sentences just filling up time and space.

I wish I could sing like him. I wish I would take the time to learn how to make music, how to make more beautiful things. I can’t hear myself; I only listen closely to other people. I can hear when you’re not hearing me.

His hair is shorter now and his face is long. I remember the sounds in the room, the stillness of standing alone. My stomach grumbles and she asks me how to make soup. I will dream of it all tonight, music and carving potatoes and sharpening knives in the tiny, dirty kitchen.

When I wake up she is still here. A lot of people have disappeared, somehow. I am grinning and my jaw hurts. He tells me stories about the bay and people who ride bicycles. I imagine all of the roads I will have to drive on between here and there. Where will all of my books go, all of my stories?

I have so much to say, but he is not the one to say it to; I know, I’ve read the list of approved questions and answers. I have met him before over the years, I can see him and hear him well. My guitar is leaning against the wall; it’s ready to go, it’s waiting, too. Beautiful and terrible things and people just want more of everything even if you don’t have any to share.

The conversation goes on without me. He is singing in the background of my head and I’m not paying attention. Are you always this quiet? They ask, they are the same people, I have met them all before, I will meet them all again, I will love them until they don’t say enough.

She is eating a cheese sandwich somewhere on the other side of the world. She finally found a girl who will laugh at her jokes. She speaks softly and wants more for you than what you have. I want to be strong like her someday, I want my strumming hand to be strong, I want him to smile in photographs.

He is a straight boy with dyed black hair and thin lips. He looks like a mass murderer, really, but he’s wonderful. She swears to me she won’t talk to him today, but she does, she does, she does. I send her pictures of flowers and we talk about things that are important and I don’t feel guilty afterward like I’ve done something bad.

It seems like everyone good will end up there with me. You know how to tell the difference by now, don’t you? What good is growing older if we can’t shake their hand and see the outcome? But that is why you and I are not the same, that is why I love the people that I do, that is why you’re staying there and we’re leaving here.

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“You should go to the moon,” he says. “I’d go to the moon. And Mars. Did you know it takes two months to get there? Or it takes four years if you don’t leave at the right time. So you’d have to leave at the right time.”

He is sitting on top of a table swinging his legs. He needs a haircut. He is excited and scared and smart and I love him.

“We’ve done all the tests,” he says. “We tried the needle one with the string and it swung and it said it will be a girl. My wife is doing good, she’s happy, she’s healthy, we’re all doing good.”

He is going to be a father, this man. I walk away and write poems about him on flashcards. I think about how he has changed me as a person. I think about him being a father.

“I wanted to be a guitarist,” he told me. “A musician. Now I’m sitting on this table.”

Years later I see him again, with a tiny pink sweater thrown over his shoulder. His baby girl is growing up. Is he still growing up?

“What do you think it would be like to leave? To never see your family again? What if I didn’t hug my father goodbye? Do you think I would regret it?”

“I wanted to go to the moon,” I said, “when I was younger. Now I just want to see as much of this planet as I can. I haven’t even seen much of this country, not yet. How much time do I have? Why is it always going by? Should I hurry?”

“Juxtaposition,” he said from the table. “Do you know what that means?”

The moon is far away now. He is far away now. Mars is farther. I still remember what juxtaposition means. The flashcards are duller and the pencil is smudged but the words are still there.

 

 

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1. Do the makers of “Jurassic World” expect us all to forget what happened at “Jurassic Park”? I’m just seeing a remake. How could we ever forget?! Never forget, y’all. So, do you want to go to the movies with me?

2. Keep talking, keep telling me all of your problems and your messed up perspective of the world, you’re giving me so much information for me to use in my future poems about you!

3. I love this song. It’s terrible! It’s amazing! It sounds like this guy has allergies/is crying/is super happy/doesn’t know how to speak English. ALSO, how do hip hop dudes decide on their hip hop names? Because it seems like they draw random words out of a hat. “Chedda Da Connect? It’s perfect!

4. How to win hearts: http://imgur.com/gallery/SDUYW

5. Remember pencil chewers? Me too. Remember borrowing a pencil and holding it in your hand and realizing not only was there no eraser (so therefore the pencil was useless!), but the metal part was all chewed so therefore had been in someone’s mouth!? Yeah.

6. I was sitting at a table full of strangers recently. A few years ago that would’ve terrified me, but these days I love meeting new people. Not, like, talking to them or anything, just meeting them. Which sometimes involves a bit of talking, but, whatever. So there I was, meeting these people, listening to them tell me about their really exciting lives (or their really not exciting lives). This one guy was really outgoing and funny and a great story teller, and this other guy sitting next to him was pretty quiet and mousy and shy. And I remember thinking about this quiet dude, and I compared him to the talkative funny dude, and, even though I am a quiet dude myself, I thought badly of him for not being interesting enough! Even though I was doing the exact same thing! Maybe he has a personality, just not at a table full of strangers? Anyway, what’s the point of all of this? I don’t know. Maybe that I’m a terrible person. Maybe I judged that guy harshly for being a quiet person because I am one. And/or because all of my friends have always been more boisterous than me/I’m usually the quiet person/I don’t know how to talk to quiet people.

7. You can sit still as much as you want, but the world keeps on spinning, with or without you.

8. Small screaming children and drunken old people are pretty much the same.

9. I can’t fix all of your problems/everything that’s wrong with you! You’ve got to do something!

10. You should really focus on yourself. I know it’s easy/feels better to focus on other stuff/less important things/other people/drama/netflix, whatever it is you’re distracting yourself with. (Bob’s Burgers?? No way! I would never.) But it’s really not better. ALSO, you should read this article on Vice; it’s really good and talks about some of the same sort of things. Because no one yells at you enough these days!

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