Christie Ann Reynolds on Fiona Apple’s "Not About Love"
I am not in love right now. Which may explain the amount of time I have for all the yoga classes I attend. Pigeon pose is my favorite—it feels amazing, but it also kind of aches. There’s a saying about this pose: the moment you want to crawl out of it is the moment the stretch is beginning to deepen—the moment it is “working.”
Fiona Apple’s song Not About Love considers ache: This is not about love/'Cause I am not in love/In fact I can’t stop falling out/I miss that stupid ache. Yes. That ache. The love ache.
I’ve already been thinking a lot about love; no longer writing revenge poems (although they were about love too, ya know…). I’m teaching a course where the central theme is L-O-V-E and creating the syllabus was kind of like filling in the weeks I couldn’t afford to go to therapy. But I think Fiona is right—love is about having an ache—both good and bad aches, a horizon (you + your lover) balanced between the two.
There’s a super fast moment in the song where doe-eyed love becomes eagle-eyed love—where she admits she fell for the kingcraft of a meritless crown and that I'm not being fair'/Cause I chose to listen to that filthy mouth. But alas, that stupid ache prevails. The idea of new love becomes an ache and your old love aches too—the one you pulled yourself out of only to wonder, if you stayed, would it have changed in some way? Would it have started working?
Fiona sings: Take all the things that I've said that he stole/Put 'em in a sack/Swing 'em over my shoulder/Turn on my heel/Step out of his sight/Try to live in a lovelier light. And so a few months ago I too, began my quest: I “packed” up all the things I felt were “stolen,” and I turned on my heels despite standing in the cavernous shadow of a very bad type of ache.
I spent a lot of time alone this summer wandering around London, trying to live in that lovelier light. On my 28th birthday, which was a few days before I was set to return to Brooklyn, I decided I was going to leave all my emotional baggage in London. Literally. I picked a beautiful, grassy, wild spot on the Heath and metaphorically left all my shit there—the heartache, the sadness, the weight of a few specific aches. The very next day London burst into a riot: buildings were burned, stores were destroyed and looted, a pub I was having dinner in was evacuated. I secretly thought that in some butterfly effect of the emotional universe I had invoked a dark energy—I had caused this to happen.
I also couldn’t stop listening to Fiona, thinking about the various species of emotional ache one could embody, and whether or not I should be dancing around to more Cyndi Lauper instead. But however sad, angsty or depressing some people might consider Not About Love, it actually makes me feel really happy. I find a small amount of solace in listening to this song in the same way I get excited about a line from one of John Steinbeck’s letters about love in which he wrote to his son, Nothing good gets away. No ache goes away entirely. For right now, I have Pigeon pose to remind me.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT LOVE IT’S ABOUT LAUGHING
by Amy Lawless
I have no man to flip onto his back at night to beat into a slow death.
I secretly steal a glance at myself in a mirror after I meet or talk to a guy I flirt with
just so I can for a moment imagine him looking at me.
I YEARN FOR PERSPECTIVE.
This lens is continually appealing and interesting.
I will never know what it’s like to be you.
BUT I CAN SYMPATHIZE AND EMPATHIZE AND PLAY A GAME CALLED “IF I WERE IN YOUR SHOES.”
One day some rando asked me why I’m so funny.
It all comes down to fast slow fast SLOW.
When someone crushes into giggles at something I say, I win.
Life isn’t about winning.
BUT IF IT WERE I WON.
I think women are ridiculously funny when they tell the truth.
I love to tell the truth.
The truth includes the mechanics of flawed human bodies.
MY BODY IS ALL I HAVE.
The truth includes acknowledging the fast slow fast slow & retarded spit coming out of your mouth when you talk too excitedly.
DON’T EMAIL ME A PHOTO OF YOUR PENIS.
By fast slow fast slow I mean we’re all going to die.
We each have so many moments of heartbreaking solitude.
IT BREAKS MY HEART.
Let’s be fast when we’re together because the slow of it will come.
Then the slows will all pile onto themselves like a multi-car crash.
SURVIVOR: “IT LOOKED LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD.”
After you die do you want to be known for slows?
(AFTER YOU DIE, YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO KNOW WHAT YOU WERE KNOWN FOR. GET A LIFE.)
I want fast fast fast.
No not like boys WANT SPEED.
When I make people laugh I topple them over.
Epiglottis constricts the larynx.
ONE DAY I MAY TOPPLE YOU TOO.
Nutcrackers line up in a neat row.
Christie Ann Reynolds and Amy Lawless most likely met at Café Loup, a popular after-workshop-hangout (Think: the Peach Pit from 90210 but with pomme frites and booze, no milkshakes) during their shared graduate school years at The New School. However, in truth they don't remember. Christie Ann is a Leo; Amy is a Pisces. They regularly attend yoga class together and Pigeon pose is their favorite.
Christie Ann is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Revenge Poems (Supermachine 2010). Her first full-length collection is forthcoming in 2012 with Coconut Books. She teaches Writing in the Humanities at Hofstra University, co-curates The Stain of Poetry Reading Series and the brand new series TOTEM: poetry + film. Recent essays, recordings, poems or reviews can be found or are forthcoming in Sink Review, Forklift, Ohio, Poor Claudia, InDigest, TheThePoetry Blog, and Action, Yes!
Amy Lawless is the author of Noctis Licentia (Black Maze Books, 2008) and the chapbook Elephants in Mourning ([sic] Detroit, 2012). Her poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in H_NGM_N, Forklift, Ohio, and Sink Review. She was named a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. She teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn.