blondie doesn’t know this but a heart can be made of wood as well as flesh and glass. a tree’s heart is shy pulp. their bodies are improbable, obscure, sealed away. but you see they are trunked, have limbs.
the trees scream from pain too high for you or me to hear. their vocal cords vibrate, rising into the higher register, rasping, cracking with blood. blondie was there, cherub high, singing. i scour the roots, but only hear the chatter of leaves and yawping wind.
adorable illusion and i cannot hide
i tell you i saw a tree’s heart through my fingertips. the sharp, live wood opened and breathed. there is no other way to witness something as internal, as personal, as an organ.
i’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside
come: we stumble out of your room amid the static of afterstorm, reeking of bourbon, and go beneath the cumulonimbus clouds, uphill, until we stand between the upright lamppost and the fallen tree. We probe our hand into the broken trunk, navigate the rough splinters, coo to the bark. careful now, blondie says: this body barely lives.
we coulda made it cruising, yeah
my urgent hands grapple the splinters, the still green wood, probing farther and farther. the heart is fragile to the touch like glass. it ceases to beat.
yeah, riding high on love’s true bluish light
there is a great distance between us and we do not weather the storm (why did we come here so close to morning?). i tell you: this tree, my tree, has gone beyond. you leave the sap-blood on your fingers. you want to glue your own heart back together. no, i say, blondie already told me all hearts break.
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis, music as politics, etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments and welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**
Justin Allard is a graduate of Centre College and currently resides in Louisville, KY.