Frankie Cosmos – Why Am I Underwater?

don’t ask me how but
i feel as though i know them
the kids with eyes
like half-moons lounging restlessly
alone in their rooms with their guitars

“aren’t you your boyfriend?
girlfriend aren’t you brothers?
sister aren’t you parents?
daughter…”

there are passing car horns
in the background of that song
that seem at once to remind
that there is a life inside this tiny room
and yet real life is very far away

even frankie’s proclamations of love
sound like loneliness exemplified
i once heard someone say
that frankie writes about girlhood
which is not something many people write about

i feel my own girlhood through frankie cosmos
the same way i feel my acid-fried age
when listening to robert pollard’s suitcase
but unlike when i listen to robert pollard
i like the way frankie plays piano

“i asked a boy for an apple juice carton
and he brought more than an apple juice carton”

usually when i hear a songwriter described as “confessional”
i think it’s probably bullshit, sad bastard music
but this is the aural equivalent of a long look
at yourself in the mirror before you take a shower
some people do a little dance, maybe you do that

frankie is at once love inseparable from sadness
and sadness inseparable from love
those sepia-toned assholes shouldn’t bother making movies
also brooklyn vegan compared her to the moldy peaches
big fuck you to brooklyn vegan

i don’t like to choose between poetry and melody
and i love frankie cause she doesn’t ask me to
she’s clever like a friend who puts too much cream
in your coffee on a friday morning looking down
at the table away from the sunlit window

i don’t want this to be a paean to urban anomie
i don’t know that any of us are really any farther
from home than anyone else
so i listen to frankie cosmos when i want to feel close
to someone who is or could be anywhere, anywhere

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