I wrote this song while living in Brooklyn, when my mind was beginning to decompose from endless periods of solitude… first a year living off the highway in Santa Fe and then- I don’t know how long- living in the scary filth of Brooklyn, cut off not just from other humans, but also from the natural world since it took hours of expensive transportation to escape the urban grid.
My one connection point with nature was an abandoned lot that contained a metal rod sticking out of the ground. If I stood on the rod, I could see what appeared to be a creek in the distance, although it may have been a drain.
In Brooklyn, I started doing strange things I would never have done before, like buying tabloid magazines and reading them from cover to cover, eagerly devouring every story about celebrity weight gain and two-timing ex-boyfriends. And I would read them while polishing off family sized bags of Combos in flavors I used to hate, like Pepperoni Pizza Pretzel.
You might think someone with a lot of time on their hands and the freedom to do as they wish would make the most of it, taking up all sorts of new hobbies and interests. But instead I found that, in the absence of friends, money, nature, love, and beauty, it was difficult to be interested in anything at all. The only books I could bring myself to read were books about magic. I was especially interested in spells for invisibility, and would rarely leave the apartment without trying out one spell or the other. My favorite was to hold a crystal pointing downwards and imagine myself being swallowed up by the earth. I also began dressing for invisibility, and really constructing my whole personality around being as inconspicuous as possible. Because when people DID notice me, it was not a good thing.
Once I was walking down the street, when out of a window an invisible voice shouted “You’re ugly! You’re ugly! Hey you in the orange shoes- You look ugly!!” It was mortifying and he kept shouting it over and over again until he finally yelled “You’re not ugly, but your shoes are! They don’t match your skirt! Don’t wear those shoes with that skirt!”
Another time, a group of twenty or so kids who had just gotten off the school bus started throwing glass bottles at me. Equal to my fear of the bottles was my confusion and humiliation when none of the other adults did anything to stand up for me. I don’t know if this is because I was the only white person, or if New York is just a culture where everyone minds their own business regardless of what is going on around them.
It seemed commonplace for people to talk about me as though I wasn’t there. Once, two girls a couple feet away from me had this conversation: “Oh my god, she looks like a ghost!” “That’s what white people look like! Haven’t you seen a white person before?” “No, look! She looks like a real ghost! Like a white sheet!”
Download MP3: Not Here Not Now