Friday, April 24, 2015

The Poetry of Rock n' Roll: "Moving"

To observe National Poetry Month, I have been featuring lyrics of rock n' roll or pop songs that also double as exquisite poetry (previously here, here, and here) and this is the last installation for 2015.

I saw singer-songwriter-illustrator-writer Jeffrey Lewis open up for a performance by Scritti Politti in 2006 (an odd pairing to be sure) and he sang this sweet little song which certainly doubles as poetry. The empty apartment stands in for thoughts of impermanence, death, and what is precious to us in this world. The essence of this song is so bittersweet and vital, touching on time, change, and the inevitability of loss and things we can't ever get back, all told through a simple tale of moving day... just breathtakingly lovely.

by Jeffrey Lewis

It went well, you didn't have to do it all by yourself.
Some friends came over and helped,
a hand truck, a friend with a van,
and you're moving out again.
Remembering when you first came,
it's crazy these streets are the same,
they looked different when they were strange.
And it is always weird to erase
every personal trace
from a place you called home for a while
and see all that you own in a pile.
A place that turned into a friend,
to return it to how it had been,
to become friends with whoever moves in.

And you stick around after all the boxes are down.
The fridge is empty--just one ice tray,
and you've swept and mopped more today
than the entire time that you stayed.
It's a shame you now gotta leave,
the place is actually nice when it's clean.
It wasn't hard mopping the floor,
why didn't you ever do that before?
Now the van is there on the corner,
and you've done everything that you're gonna.
There's some pennies and dust on that shelf,
but the landlord can clean it herself.
You're not sure, but you're gonna claim
the blinds were busted like that when you came.

Man, it's so existential in that room,
it's existential with that broom.
'Cause the room looks the same
except there's no life left,
and you start thinking about death.
When you die, will it be the same?
No more thoughts decorating your brain?
An empty space for the world to reclaim?
You're on the verge of thinking something deep,
and then you hear the van give a beep,
and then you take one last look around to make sure,
then you go one last time out the door,
and you'll never again see the angle
of the street you saw from that window.
You take the key out of your pocket,
you close the front door and you lock it,
drop the key back through the slot,
sure hope there's nothing you forgot.

No comments: