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.

Allie Long

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.
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