“Easy to Be Around” by Diane Cluck
This song feels like a dream: not “dreamy” in the soft way but with a dream’s heightened awareness, enlivening and a little terrifying. Objects loom with eerie but ambiguous import: the thrill of finding and pocketing diamonds abandoned in a coal mine, which turns to weird sadness by the end, when those same diamonds become “so heavy I had to leave them all behind.” There’s also a love letter embedded here (reminding me a bit of the intercut love and narrative in Dylan’s “Isis”): the you who “belongs to no one” so is “so easy to be around,” the two melting into “one shadow made of mercury,” and walking together “it’s like I’m not even walking beside you,” a ghostly existence, a love perhaps existing by telepathy alone. This song’s world reminds me a bit of Loren Erdrich’s artwork from I Take Back the Sponge Cake: intuitively familiar yet deeply strange.
Sierra Nelson is a Seattle-based poet, performer, and installation artist. Her books include lyrical choose-your-own-adventure I Take Back the Sponge Cake (Rose Metal Press) made with visual artist Loren Erdrich, and forthcoming poetry collection The Lachrymose Report (Poetry NW Editions). Her poems have appeared inside Seattle Metro buses and at the Seattle Aquarium, with Nordic runes on lava stones in Iceland (SIM Gallery), and in journals and anthologies including Alive at the Center, Crazyhorse, Tin House, and Pleiades. She teaches through University of Washington, Richard Hugo House, and WITS at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and is co-founder of collaborative performance groups The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. She can found online at songsforsquid.tumblr.com.
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