Nonfiction by Jaymee Martin
The strumming of minor chords is a warning to the audience that we are about to descend.
I love all the songs that Doc and I perform, but this one is my favorite, because something happens to me when the cavern of the chorus splits wide and a howl that seems too big for my body escapes to shock through the open space. In this space, there is no criteria for good or bad. The only criteria is the depth of the bellow, and how finely I can attune it to the truth in my muscles.
And with my howl, I can tell a story in a secret language known only to me. My howl contains the married man who invited me over to his place to smoke pot at 3 a.m., sitting there in the front row under the stage. I gather up a little more stain in my voice so that he can know I am singing right to him, since he would never actually listen otherwise.
I sway my hips. I do not hide. I wish this song would never end. Maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe this song doesn’t have to be a dignified karaoke, a little girl trying on her mom’s shoes. Maybe this song sets the standard that upends the old criteria, and the open space will remain even after the last strum fades.
Maybe this song is what everyone came to see.
Jaymee Martin is a writer and educator in Oregon. She is currently working on a memoir about moving to the tiny, fictional-seeming country of Andorra. Visit her at jaymeemartin.com.