Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Using the old barn to write in this afternoon. It's one that's been around for a long while and it's heated, so that's good. Growing up, there were always angry sows in the basement below where I'm sitting right now, intent on tormenting the littler me and chewing my legs off with their angry, bitch teeth. There were also those cute piglets that they were protecting, which we saw come into the world -- being closer to the miracle of birth at such a young age, than any of the friends I had who didn't grow up on a working farm. I digress, but only a little. It's incredible how much more you find yourself thinking about the small things that seemed so flimsy and easy, but now consider them some of the more enchanting and lasting memories that you've ever formed. It's amazing that now, as older men, we want all of those back. We want them to be clear and present.
In writing about the Brooklyn band The Loom again, I'm once again swimming in the warm waters of nostalgia and these weird thoughts that just don't occur to us every day. They are so arbitrary, but they make us up. They belittle so much else and define us in ways that we can only get nearer to understanding, but can and will never touch. The second we actually understand ourselves is the second that we're hearing it from someone else because we're never going to arrive at the right juncture and in hearing ourselves taken apart so expertly by someone else, we're bound to change it all instinctually. It will never be the same again. We will become different, though our bodies will likely still resemble the ones we were stocked with when we came out screaming. It will then be time for a rewrite. We like our confusions and we LOVE it that even though we know the facts - that bones break, that they snap - we find ways to make ours tear and bend and contort so that we defy as much prediction as possible. We love the riddles that we become. The clues follow us and we fantasize when others will pick up on them, reading us ever so slightly, finding our troves. We can't wait for them to do those things and yet we wait and wait because they're waiting and waiting. We get frustrated by the strain that life is, the toll that it takes on us, so much so that when Loom lead singer John Fanning sings, "In the end, it's easier than sleep/ So, give up, give up give up, give up the ghost," boy do we nod our heads off.
This band, like it or not, makes us actually pain for and about the things that we try to brush off as the small stuff that's no big deal, that we choose to classify as insignificant. It's when your mother doesn't hug you every time that she sees you or doesn't tell you that she loves you (even though she does) every time you leave or get off the phone with her. It's when you wonder what your children are going to think of you when you're an old man. Are they still going to have those smiles and those sparkles in their eyes that you put there. Those are the smiles and the sparkles that you gave them at conception. When Fanning sings, "Still beholden to your children/Standing always at the bottom of their stairs/And bluest blood and truest love and golden throat/All offsetting graying hair," it's hard not to weep because there's so much to worry about with those little ones, for those little ones. But we want all of that. It's getting to worry that much about something other than the silliness that makes us the happiest. And then we want to go away this way, with our children saying, "And I guess this troubled, worn-out skin/Is just the one I'm at home in/It's where I'll stay
And how you fell into your chair/Your roaring twenties roaring in your ears/And how you fell to disrepair/As finest phrases followed youngest yearsAnd now you're left reading your rights/With your weary old editor's eye/And now I'm out upon the town/With all your proud words in my mouth."