Allie Long is an economics and English double-major at the University of Virginia, though she still calls Conover, North Carolina home. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Words Dance, Bird's Thumb, as well as others.
How Obsession Is Born
I want to be someone else or I'll explode.
— "Talk Show Host", by Radiohead
Like a universe before it's brought into being,
fold me into a singularity tiny enough to tolerate
and let it inflate into a body that can sustain a life,
or at least an excuse for one. You have no idea,
sitting on the sofa beside me as we listen
to the three-note riff that gave self-hatred
a sound. Or maybe you do, latching onto our mutual
affinity for Shakespeare tragedies set to psychedelia.
I love Romeo + Juliet like the first irreverent joke
a boy told me in the church parking lot — that feeling
of power over tradition. Or maybe I just thought
he was cute. My attraction needs teeth and tears:
the grating of a guitar, the deliberate let down
of a one-night stand. I feel more naked when we discuss
our loyalty to certain brands of insanity, but your hand
is already halfway up my leg, unknowingly
indulging my fetish for being touched by fingers
that won't stay longer than our oxytocin high, longer than
a chorus, played twice as love song and once more
as lullaby. Now, when I listen to it, I won't think
of how much I want to carve an essence out of my skin.
I will only think of you pressed into it, knowing
we can swap everything our bodies house and remain
those same, sad people. Settling for an explosion.
"How Obsession Is Born" speaks to music's ability to connect people in ways that transcend mere words, for better or worse. Radiohead in particular tends to garner an unusually passionate response in its fans, so, as a fan, not much else needs to be said when I'm with someone who shares my love of their music. Identifying with their lyrics, however, can reveal too much of me too quickly, which can sometimes lead to, well, too much to quickly. This poem is an attempt to capture the feeling of fleeting acceptance conjured by these moments.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.