A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || May 4, 2003 || 10:27 pm

Once upon a time I used to phone this voice bridge that consisted of several chat rooms, some ‘backstage’ private rooms, voice mailboxes and a voice BBS.

When the yokels in the nationwide chat bored me –which was often– I would turn my attentions toward the BBS side of the house. My voice, at first, was a shocking thing to me, alien and unfamiliar. I’d been told in chat that it was a mighty fine voice and though I’d had my singing voice captured in several styles of song over the short range of my years, I’d never really heard my speaking voice aside from the random family video. There it was relegated to a barely-noticable back seat behind the movements and antics of those of us in frame.

I played on the BBS frequently, recording, dumping, re-recording all manner of things. There were snippets of me playing guitar, reciting poetry or bad jokes (sometimes one and the same, I reckon), rambling stream-of-conciousness bullshit, performing elaborate or punchy skits.

“Hit one to listen to your message.”
“Hit two to re-record.”
“Hit three to delete this message.”
“Hit four to save your message and continue.”

I rarely hit four, because what I was doing was personal and masturbatory and inconsequential, all at the same time. It carried no relevance whatsoever to anyone but myself. Practical logic says that I could have accomplished the same thing with the four track in the comfort and convenience of my own home, but that felt like a mere extension of myself. Out there it was different — a disembodied me floating digitized in the Land Of The Touch Tone, a disassociated part of the Orwellian Everything….

Occasionally the Four Treatment was given; this was mostly in microseconds of great euphoria or sorrow or drunkeness. One such time was a five-page letter I’d penned to you in one of my grander moments of reflection and was done in one not-consciously-decisive take.

Pound to record. Four to save.

You weren’t even part of the particular group that heard the message, but I believed then what I still believe now: To keep you close to my heart and to keep myself alive in yours, I must release the words from myself and into the Cosmos, which will in turn settle them around you, causing powerful things like comfort and regret and fond remembrance. The might of those words are exponentially increased, then, when shared with an audience.

The BBS, normally a place where people screamed epithets and curses and ran scathingly roughshod over other callers, was remarkably placid on that night. Lurking in the rooms, I heard various comments uttered into the mouthpieces around the nation:

“You hear what Jett put up on the b-board?”
“Yeah, man, I heard that shit.”
“I recorded it to put back up there in case it gets bumped…”
“Board’s movin’ kinda slow; don’t think it will….”
“Who’s it about? Who’s she talking to?”
“Fuck. Makes me wish it was me.”

And though that wasn’t the intended result, it pleased me because my words moved those not attached to the situation; how then, could they fail to move you?

A man left a message in my voice mailbox that night; it was a snippet of poetry he’d written and it was quite good. He had a gorgeous voice and we exchanged messages for some four months before actually speaking to one another. When I asked him why he initially messaged me, he replied,

“Your words were just so perfect and just so full of emotion for this person and I thought, ‘If a woman ever loved me like that, I’d never want for another thing.’

“And I knew, despite the fact that you could never love me –and maybe never anyone else– like that, I had to make an attempt at knowing the woman behind those words, behind the voice that nearly buckled under everything it held but didn’t.”

He told me that he was lucky to have met me but that you were charmed to have held me. He wondered at whether or not you knew how much so.

I wish he had never posed the question, because sometimes now I do, too.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This empty room it fills my mind / Freedom, it leaves me confined / Every single wall has cracked / But in this life, you can’t turn back

I don’t want to live / I don’t want to live alone / Alone / Alone / Alone

As these words part with my tongue / I question why they’re even sung / I promise, but I lie / I don’t even know myself inside

I don’t wanna be / I don’t wanna be here alone / Alone / Alone / Alone

Today and tommorow have become one / Every single thing has become none / Human nature is a beast / What I’ve done the most, to show I have the least

Please don’t leave me here / Please don’t leave me here / Don’t you leave me alone / Alone / Alone / Alone

// Ben Harper, “Alone”

7 worked it out »

  1. you and ben should have illegitimate groupie-kids

  2. V. 5.5.2003

    Heartachingly haunting.

  3. Keith Morris 5.6.2003

    Whoa. Just… whoa.

  4. trouble 5.7.2003

    to answer the question he posed:

    yes; i do.

    if i could put you in a frame / id draw you smiling/ with a cigarette in your mouth / and your hands reaching out / for something / if i could…

    //k’s choice, “winners”

  5. Jett 5.8.2003

    DAMN, trouble, there you go with the k’s choice, just punching me right in the emotional gut.

    Bang on.

  6. trouble 5.8.2003

    jett, i gotta say, im not surprised. i mean, sure. youre one of three souls ive come to know whos ever heard of ks choice. youre number 3 of 3 whos transformed knowledge into passion. but if someone would (please god, may no one (it so overdone)) say that there are two types of people: those who…ks choice and those who dont. i knew you and i were the same people.

  7. Suzanne 5.8.2003

    It’s strange that despite our quasi-parallel PL tenure and Southern proximity, we never knew each other. Haunting memories of people, places, conversations from the ‘Land of Touch Tone’ still manage to creep into my mind and heart. Sometimes it’s just a feeling – the kind where locations and persons and times and words are all a blur, but the feeling is oh so familiar. But most often I find myself in the WhatIf? or, perhaps more appropriate, WhatTheHellWasIThinking? frame of mind.


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