reading between the lines

One of my good friends in high school half-successfully made the case to our older-than-dirt AP English teacher that musicians were poets, so he should be allowed to write his poetry paper on the work of Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. Our English teacher’s lesson plans were written on pre-biblical parchment paper, and she hated students; I think she agreed so that he would go away.

At the time, while I enjoyed listening to the radio, I would not have called myself a fan of music. My parents weren’t “music” people, so we rarely listened to much when I was a kid, and in middle school, I got pulled in to the pop Top 40 music my friends liked. It didn’t mean a lot to me, though. Through high school and college, though, friends introduced me to all sorts of music that really spoke to me. Weird musicals that no one ever performed from my theatre friends, ’70s rock from a few friends with older siblings, interesting new bands from the new-ish “alternative” music genre. I discovered that music sometimes did things for me that nothing else did — it found words for things I didn’t know how to say. In between the lines, I found people expressing emotions I never had words for. It was pretty amazing.

Because of this, I find myself playing certain songs on repeat (privately! I don’t inflict this on others.) as I tend to find the expression of what I find inexpressable to be a balm.

This is what I’ve been listening to lately, “Dam Would Break” from Toad the Wet Sprocket’s erroneous “farewell” album of circa 1998 or so. I figured there might be another adoptee or two who would relate, so I’m pasting them in below. Sometimes I think that’s what this is, this writing, here on this blog — it’s my attempt to find words for all my inexpressables, sometimes more successfully than others. This is my dam breaking.

“Dam Would Break”

Is it this place that makes me fall from you
Forget the words that once rang so true
Did we expect that life was ever fair, my god . . .
I sowed a field of rose and reaped a whipping rod
And everything i’ve held too tight inside
Could make a part of me die
And if my lips could only speak the name
The dam would break
What is this ice that gathers ’round my heart
To stop the flood of warmth before it even starts
It would make me blind to what i thought would always be
The only constant in the world for me
And every hour of every day
I need to fight from pulling away
And if my mind could only loose the chain
The dam would break
For all the things i hid away
And all the words i could not say
The dam would break

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