Joints (Muscles, Seams)

rivers of red running through me

and red is all i can see

bound and contained by tributaries

joints, muscles and seams

i am fragile, i am fading

and i can feel this body dying all around me

so what does it mean and where is meaning

in joints, muscles and seams

i live alone in my body

skin, and these trappings of limbs

i can't surf, but i'll swim

and there are times that i wanna let you in

but then only if you can swim

'cuz my blood runs so thin

i am this creature body

let's see what this body can do

and you are an enigma to me

'cuz you are a creature-body too

the sound of your voice, the feel of your heartbeat

that is the mystery to me

'cuz how could you be so full of meaning

in joints and muscles and seams

creatures of blood

yes we crawl through the mud 

but we're staring at the stars

i don't know from where but the meaning is there

in bodies laid bare

rivers of red running through me

rivers run down to the sea

this is the only way that i've got to love you

in joints, muscles and seams

The one that started it all.

For a big chunk of my early adulthood, all I could write were snippets of songs that were either too jokey, too direct, too derivative or just plain bad. At least, thought they were bad. I wrote all my feelings down in journals and read many books but somehow I couldn't make the leap into verse and melody in any way that I found satisfying. In the last year of my music studies (2007-08) at Queen's University (Kingston, ON) I took a composition course with Dr. Alfred Fisher, which gave me an insulated nook in which to expand melodic ideas and struggle past self-censorship. The piano intro for Joints was written as part of an assignment for this course. Then (obviously) I did nothing with it for three years...

After Queen's I moved to Montreal to make my fortune. I still played music, taught sax, wrote my feelings down, venerated Tom Waits but no songs were coming out of me. I waitressed. I decided to get my Master's. I studied for a year for my audition. I passed that audition! I had lots of interesting mental unravellings and almost broke up with my partner a couple of times. Still nothing. Then one day (September 2010 I believe), like a cicada that had been sleeping 17 years deep in the soil, my first song burst into fully-realized life as though it had always existed. It seemed to be everything I was trying to say all at once, with concision and grace - about how strange it is that we are embodied subjectivity and how to reconcile the fact that so much thought, poetry, philosophy and wit can just be an emergent property of 3 lbs of cholesterol and some sparks. These ideas baffle me to this day and are a recurrent theme that runs through my inner landscape. In a way, Joints is the locus of everything I have ever written, and everything I will ever write. 

© 2016 by Zoë Robertson. Photography by Robert Zbikowski and Vincent Fugere. Proudly created with Wix.com

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