The Topic At Hand: Seconds

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[audio:|titles=Affording Good Beheadings|artists=Josh Millard]


and the way that we met
in the Purple Room at Powells
at Asian History

and I was browsing for samurai
and you were researching suicide

and we joked about the privilege
of affording good beheadings
by your seconds

and the first time we went
to your mother's house
for Thanksgiving

and the turkey that you
warned me would be too dry
was too dry

and the smile in her eyes
when I went back cheerful
for seconds

and all the time that we had
months in love
months of struggle

and all the time that we lost
all the time that you took
that you stole from us

and I count it all out
by years and weeks and hours
and seconds

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    • The phrase that is really going to stick with me (and that I've already starting singing it to myself a few times) is “…and the turkey that you warned me would be too dry/was too dry.”

      So much universal experience packed into that detail.

    • Song reminds me a little of Daniel Johnston. Not sure if you like his stuff or not but it's definitely meant as a compliment.
      I'm curious as to your choice of 'months' in love and 'months' in struggle instead of 'years' as I (perhaps incorrectly) assumed these folks had spent many years together – possibly having epic and passionate in their gaudy asian themed decorated apartment over when to have dinner.
      At any rate, I thought the song was great.

      • epic and passionate arguments is what I meant to say

      • I (hazily) agree with your years-not-months analysis, fwiw. I don't think it's quite concrete, but it feels like it should be years, however many there were.

        The way that line came about, I was playing around with temporal quantifiers and seeing how I could work all these different common units into the lyrics, specifically in that final verse where what had been more momentary/episodic recollections earlier became a sort of flurry of more precise but less specific accounting. And I had years and weeks and hours and seconds spoken for, and months nowhere to be found, and so it happened.

        The ambiguity there has been itching at me ever since, but I have a habit of chewing unhappily on lyrics for a long time without actually fixing them and just ending up feeling put out without getting anywhere. So when problems don't solve themselves quickly, I tend to just let 'em go and call it done.

        I am a recent fan of Daniel Johnston, yeah; I was introduced to him by my good friends The Harvey Girls when I was playing with them, and last year I recorded a cover of True Love Will Find You In The End.

    • I'm intrigued by pronoun choice in “all the time you stole from us.” assuming it's directed at the other lover. It's such an intensely personal perspective–such that I wonder if you could ever actually say that to another person and mean it. After all: how can “you” take time from “us” without the other partner somehow consenting?

      Unless there is another “You” who's not in the relationship. In which case, ignore all above. But it's still interesting that “we” lost and “you” took. I could go on–either way, fascinating word choices here.

      I thought the whole song was great…wonderful sound…words aside.

      • Tara

        I thought that the lover had died, even committed suicide, and that's how she stole the time, without any consenting.

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    The Author

    Josh Millard

    Josh Millard is a musician and computer geek living in Portland, Oregon. He is full of bad ideas, some of which he follows through on. He should probably update his blog more often. Josh is one of the moderators of Metafilter, where he goes by cortex. He once ate a very large donut on camera, and the internet will not stop reminding him about it.

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