The Sound of Settling

[For Mashed Poetics –
Band: Death Cab for Cutie
Album: Transatlanticism
Song assignment: The Sound of Settling]

Some songs were never meant to make the album
the lead singer said they’re sad
in a too-uptempo kind of way
not keeping in theme

and I get that
some days I’m sad in a too-happy kind of way
and I want to write those days off, too

those are the weeks where I fold my hand
and hope the house doesn’t notice.

My first lesson from Hollywood
was that settling only looked a certain way:

marrying the first person I kiss,
my brother sighing as he hangs up the phone,
the day my parents sleep in separate beds,

settling meant that
after the endless hallways of adolescence
and death cab albums
and the catch in my throat of feeling 
all the time
I had only the blue exhale of giving up
to look forward to
like young meant gold and risk
and everything after is some surrender

but this is not true

I am gathering houses full of settling
and none of them sound this way

there is good settling
there is good that comes from settling:

the bed sheet lifted to the air and falling in place
the soft hands of compromise
learning to draw inside the lines of argument
the dust on my high school diploma, on all my sharp corners
one postal code after years of boxes
shedding the fractious skin of my early twenties
the weightless vanish of surface friends
the slow gather of the same faces
in the glow of my birthday candles

year after year

the sound of fruit
shaken from the tree
the day I learn people are not stories
and I settle, gladly, for the warm body
I fall asleep against, the one
that wakes up choosing me,
over some perfect fiction I haven’t met yet

love is a series of gold frames
sweeping off screen

the sound we make when we reach to catch them,
keep them,
this is the song of choosing
this is the sound of settling

there is good settling
there is good that comes from settling

even when some songs were never meant
to make the album.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s