Pink and black and blue for you.

It was a joke. Until it wasn’t.

Until we were folding into origami versions of ourselves to squeeze through the open foot of broken window onto the frosty 4 a.m. of the fire escape.

We straighten out, flesh and blood again with steam-engine breath. It’s cold. I don’t notice at first, but then my ass starts to freeze in the grid pattern of the iron beneath it. You don’t mind. You’ve had more to drink.

We are watching stray cats cross Washington like dirty ghosts. We perch three floors up and a world away from next week’s work. And it’s so easy right now, though we’ll play that awkward new friends game when the hangover hits.

I’ll be bruised in the morning from scrambling past the radiator, over the sill, into oblivion. Dark splotchy reminders that if I can just bend myself in the right direction, we can get back to that uncomplicated peace — that level of freedom we’ll only get while crowded onto ledges, exhausted, looking over the edge.

St. Vincent 2/15/10

My PopWreckoning review. Links to the opener Wildbirds & Peacedrums (my favorite song “My Heart”) and someone behind me got a video of “Strangers.”

Thanks to Becca for keeping me awake on the road at 3 a.m. discussing the nuances of fiction and nonfiction. Thanks to C. Dean for sharing spinach pizza and baby rats. Thanks to the big bearded bouncer for letting me into the show fo’ free.

Thanks Mom for letting me do these crazy things without asking too many questions.

OMG Valentine’s Day.

Here’s a list of my favorite love songs (sappy, angry or silly). Look some up. Don’t be bitter. Every day’s a good day for “I love you” and Electric Six.

Alexi Murdoch “Song for You”

Anthony Green “She Loves Me So”

Avett Brothers “Love Like the Movies” — But real life is more than two hours long

Band of Horses “Part One”

The Beach Boys “God Only Knows”

Beck “Think I’m in Love” — But it makes me kind of nervous to say so.

Belle & Sebastian “Piazza, New York Catcher”

Bishop Allen “Couple Easy Things” — I need someone to sing me to sleep (preferably Sam Beam).

Blitzen Trapper “Love U”

Broken Social Scene “Lover’s Spit”

Cake “Love You Madly”

The Cardigans “Lovefool”

Damien Rice “Rootless Tree” — So fuck you, fuck you, fuck you…

Death Cab for Cutie “Marching Bands of Manhattan”

The Decemberists “Red Right Ankle”

Devendra Banhart “Lover”

The Elected “Would You Come with Me”

Electric Six “Danger! High Voltage”

The Flaming Lips “Do You Realize??”

Fruit Bats “When You Love Somebody”

Great Lake Swimmers “Your Rocky Spine” — The narrative of this song is a lot like “Your Body is a Wonderland,” which I can’t stand. But instead of comparing a woman to candy, he compares her to a national park. Much more palatable.

Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams” — Because of 500 Days of Summer.

Hot Chip “We Have Love”

Iron and Wine “Such Great Heights” “Jezebel”

Janis Joplin “Piece of My Heart”

Jens Lekman “I Remember Every Kiss”

Joshua Radin “These Photographs” — Any song that mentions Sylvia Plath,  Simon de Beuvoir, Nina Simone and Mary Cassatt makes this list.

Justin Timberlake “My Love”

Kanye West “Heartless”

Kings of Convenience “I’d Rather Dance with You” — Most of the time.

Lady Gaga “Lovegame”

M. Ward “I’ll Be Yr Bird”

Mason Jennings “If You Ain’t Got Love”

Miniature Tigers “Annie Oakley” — Conundrum: I don’t wanna move too fast/I don’t wanna scare you off/I don’t wanna move too slow/someone’s gonna snatch you up

The Mountain Goats “Love Love Love”

My Brightest Diamond “Golden Star”

The National “Slow Show” — Perfect. Especially if you’re in love and 29 years old: You know I dreamed about you for twenty-nine years before I saw you/You know I dreamed about you, I missed you for for twenty-nine years

Neko Case “This Tornado Loves You”

Neutral Milk Hotel “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”

Of Montreal “Gallery Piece” — I wanna be your love/I wanna make you cry/And sweep you off your feet/I wanna hurt your pride/I wanna slap your face/I wanna paint your nails/I wanna make you scream

Passion Pit “Smile Upon Me”

Peter Bjorn and John “Paris 2004”

Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”

The Polyphonic Spree “Hold Me Now”

Regina Spektor “Folding Chair”

Rilo Kiley “I Never”

Rogue Wave “Publish My Love” — I love literary love songs. See also Stars.

She & Him “I Was Made for You”

Shout Out Louds “Oh, Sweetheart”

Sigur Ros “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” — I really don’t know what they’re saying, but it sounds lovely.

Spice Girls “Wannabe”

Spiritualized “Soul on Fire”

St. Vincent “Marry Me” — Marry me, Annie Clark.

Stars “My Favourite Book” — See also Rogue Wave.

Sufjan Stevens “The Dress Looks Nice on You” — Marry me, Sufjan Stevens.

The Swell Season “In These Arms”

Tegan and Sara “Take Me Anywhere”

Third Eye Blind “Never Let You Go”

Travis “Flowers in the Window”

Vetiver “Everyday” — J. sent me a link to this song while we were sojourning apart last summer.

Wilco “Reservations” “On and On and On” “Either Way” — Etc.

XO – Z


“Mom, I’ve been thinking,” I said. I’m 7 years old, ready for the school day, and this thought emerges between bites of Honey Nut Cheerios at breakfast. “I really want to walk across the covered bridge. That’s my dream today.”

“Which covered bridge?” she asked. How wonderful to live in a town – Lyndonville, Vermont – where this is a valid question.

I described it. We lived on a long stretch of dirt road that climbed one of the hills above town. Keep going up and you passed the huge, buttercream yellow mansion we always admired at Christmastime and the community college where my elementary school bus driver taught. Head down toward town and, just before reaching the highway where gravel eased its way into pavement, the hill leveled out into a meadow cut in two by a meandering creek. Over this water, with no road leading up to or away from it, was a covered bridge – a New England staple that features prominently in many coffee table picture books at Barnes & Noble.

This was the bridge. The idea of traversing it began forming a few days before, when, from the back window of the mini-van, I noticed an old man standing with easel in the middle of the field, prepared to paint the scene.

“Hmm, I think you’re right,” Mom said. “I think that would be nice.”

School, an afternoon spent running around the woods behind the house looking for animal tracks, bedtime with light still in the sky, school again.

On Friday afternoon Mom loaded us into the van. A mystery drive! These were always exciting. Would it be a trip to Dad’s work at the lumber mill? His boss would give us candy and the French Canadian secretaries would teach us folk songs in words we couldn’t understand. Or maybe ice cream at Carmen’s – the red barn in the park downtown that had been converted into a sweet shop.

It was the bridge.

Mom pulled over to the side of the road, kicking up grey dust behind the car, and four little girls tumbled out into the sunshine meadow.

“Why are we here?” little sister wondered.

“This is something Zoe really wants to do,” Mom responded. “She wants to walk across that bridge.”

We fast-walked toward the structure (“No running!” Mom warned). Walking across the wooden floor…it was all echoes and water reflected on the deteriorating ceiling. We covered the span countless times, sometimes pausing to peer through the rails into the lazy rippling river below. The trip lasted maybe 15 minutes.

I walked back to the van, clinging to Mom, showering her with thanks and love. It had been a perfect goal fulfilled. We buckled in; we headed home.

“So what about you other girls?” Mom said. “What are your dreams? We can do those tomorrow.”