theme music: “i can’t explain the state that i’m in”

do your days ever have theme songs or theme music? my song for today was sufjan steven’s “the predatory wasp of the palisades is out to get us!” from come on hear the illinoise!

there’s not a specific reason for it; i won’t pretend to understand all the lyrics. like many (most) of sufjan steven’s songs it’s mysterious and inscrutable. but it tells a good story, and it’s beautifully bittersweet.

i guess i was thinking wistfully today about something kind of bittersweet. do you ever wish you could shake people and make them wake up and see the wonderful things that have been staring them in the face their entire life to which they just haven’t been paying attention? i wished that … although i know my shaking someone is not going to help. you’re alive — so live! that’s what i wanted to say.

instead i just played the frustration away with the haunting sturm und drang of this song and the story of the people in it. i listened to it about eight times. never got old. i don’t closely relate to it all, but i like the wording of the first two verses and the last two sections best.

Thinking outrageously I write in cursive
I hide in my bed with the lights on the floor
Wearing three layers of coats and leg warmers
I see my own breath on the face of the door

Oh I am not quite sleeping
Oh I am fast in bed
There on the wall in the bedroom creeping
I see a wasp with her wings outstretched

North of Savanna we swim in the palisades
I come out wearing my brother’s red hat
There on his shoulder my best friend is bit seven times
He runs washing his face in his hands

Oh how I meant to tease him
Oh how I meant no harm
Touching his back with my hand I kiss him
I see the wasp on the length of my arm

Oh great sights upon this state! Hallelu-
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake. Hallelu-
Trail of Tears and Horseshoe Lake. Hallelu-
trusting things beyond mistake. Hallelu-

We were in love. We were in love.
Palisades! Palisades! Palisades
I can wait. I can wait.

Lamb of God, we sound the horn.
To us your ghost is born.

I can’t explain the state that I’m in
The state of my heart, he was my best friend
Into the car, from the back seat
Oh admiration in falling asleep
All of my powers, day after day
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below
I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm
I can tell you the day we were born
My friend is gone, he ran away
I can tell you, I love him each day
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged
I can tell you I love him each day
Terrible sting, terrible storm
I can tell you…