D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: the maiden name

On Top of the World

In the airplane, I put on my headphones [this is the first time I have flown since we moved back to Portland 10 months prior, the first time I have ever left my baby behind, the first time I am going somewhere to talk about my writing, the first time I wore boots and a faux-leather jacket borrowed from my sister in order to appear confident, calm, professional, put-together].

The words and music that pour forth unnerve me [ I had listened to my husband’s weird and wild and quirky album before, sure—while I cleaned the house or had the same conversation ten times in a row with my child. My husband knew for some reason I needed to hear it through his fancy headphones, in a suspended place, I needed to pay attention. My husband is bearded, kind, adorable. He hides his angst and is learning to better understand that it is OK to be angry at things that are unjust and unwell].

During my talk, I unabashedly cribbed from my husband and his songs [I said, to a certain extent, that I love to write troubled, to write scared, to approach our life and work and our compulsion towards meaning-making with a bent towards complicating matters. Heaven knows Twitter wants to take my thoughts and make them short and snappy and sanctimonious. Heaven knows I want to be seen as good and perfect and an artist and an activist. Heaven knows we are just grappling, all the time, with the ways the devil convinces us that the world should work]. 

So here, I will just leave them here. The words that reveal so much about our hearts. We long for that equitable kingdom to come. We long for it to not cost us so much. But the very best things are worth everything, aren’t they?

 

 

Top of the World 

By The Maiden Name

 

 

top of the world 

bourgeois at least 

it’s clear it’s engineered 

for folks like me 

top of my game, I mean top of the game 

but then again from my end I didn’t really have to compete 

 

white, straight, master’s degree 

cards lined up in hand, so it’s guaranteed 

that this world will work for me, was built for me 

my demographics is my skeleton key, 

 

at least this system runs 

so let’s tweak it gently 

yeah, when the Kingdom comes, 

let’s, let’s change things gently 

 

power isn’t a problem 

gotta get it in the right hands 

fingers in front of me are fit enough 

just watch, I’ve got compassionate plans 

 

let’s raise wages just enough 

don’t raise the prices 

and don’t lower my salary 

or take away any of my write-offs 

 

we’ve basically arrived, right? 

seems like it from where I stand 

at the top the game, it’s good 

offer the less fortunate a helping hand 

 

justice vs. compassion, take the latter every time 

it feels better to give than to pay a proper dime 

 

let’s raise the valleys 

without tearing the mountains down 

I want justice to roll down like river 

but I’m afraid I might drown 

 

I’m opposed to violence 

and I’m opposed to not feeling safe 

and when those two come head to head 

I’m still not sure which choice I would make 

and I used to avoid paying war-taxes 

by keeping my income low enough 

but with both of us working 

can’t bring myself to donate the surplus 

and my neighbors next door 

yeah, they’re on the run from war 

while I’ve been sitting on my sofa 

writing theology behind closed doors 

yeah, I’m safe and I’m secure, 

even in my neighborhood 

they say it’s the hood, hood 

but I know that I don’t look like you’ll think I’m up to no good 

 

so I walk down dark streets 

and I don’t look over my shoulder, 

and if there’s no one I have to meet 

then I’ll walk a little slower 

without a worry or a care 

I take my walks without falter 

maybe that’s the reason why never had 

any use for the Psalter 

 

question: can I ever be saved? 

you know my face looks enraged 

but I have slave trade chocolate 

silently running through my veins 

before we give these valleys a raise, let’s wait 

cause I’ve escaped the curse at the cost 

of inequality’s iron rod 

of others being crushed by the weight 

of a system I did not create 

but I’ve bought into it in a literal way 

my money for products at a low wage 

my vote working in what I pay 

my heart in exchange for what I gain 

my soul in exchange for what I save 

I’ve never worked the ground from which I was made 

-can I ever be saved? 

 

Up on a mountain looking down 

you only see loss 

so when the Kingdom comes 

I know it will come with a cost 

I know it cost someone like me a lot 

 

I want to justice to roll on like a river 

its current to flow strong and mighty 

but I want to keep my feet dry 

and from what I hear that’s just not likely 

 

what did I go out into the desert to see? 

a wind-swayed reed? 

did I hope to stay as I am? 

or did I hope to be redeemed?

 

 

(You can listen to the song/hear the rest of the album here)

 

 

 

 

Colder Than Mars

My husband wrote this song last winter (which was a hard and good one for us). I love how he weaves in so much (references to The Abyss, an obscure McSweeney's book called Giraffes? Giraffes! and all of our favorite snacks). I also love how it showcases his deeply earnest yet totally goofy personality. As my friend Nate Allen describes it: this is the kind of music a therapist records in his basement. Because it totally is. Anyways, it seems like creativity has been a key component of mental health for us, balancing the weight of the world we find ourselves in and getting lost in words and beats. To all of you who, like myself, the winters can be hard on, this song is for you.

 

 

 

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2571148603 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=3321551353]  

 

 

Colder Than Mars

by The Maiden Name

 

we go to malls when it snows and we don’t buy a thing and hold keys to cars we don’t own on our rings and when we lie down, I can feel the oxytocin flow like the Mississippi runs in the spring if we'd stuck to applied sciences, we might have ended up with better appliances but anthills pop up through the carpet, yeah our apartment’s kind of an armpit, yeah no pork at our parties, chicken is safest, and in minneapolis sambusas are the greatest orange fanta, sans-ice goat, basta, injeera, ricemy wife swears the vikings are a hockey team because of the ice I correct her, "that's a basketball team, you know" but I try to say it nice

we shop at the co-op, pick up some supplements at the food-shelf we buy what we can from the farmers, and then get what we can where we can wherever else. pita or pancake? why is everyone snacking on my sidewalk? spiced with ginger and mandrake! I’m not gonna pick it up and put in my pocket we drink what it see, drain it down, even up to the dregs let it sit deep within us, like fruit juices in giraffe’s legs

what if to submerge is like the Abyss? I mean the film from 1989 that I watched in 7th grade, with horror, as that rat’s eyes met mine he shrieked and tried not to drown, but he couldn’t resist, such a struggle in the brine his lungs filled with water and he survived with clenched fists [I mean paws, clenched paws]

its colder than mars here, and we import snow by the pounds and doors are locked and closed, from the first snow til the thaw of the ground we’re all gonna die of loneliness, cozy with just ourselves, only ourselves and a bottle of vodka taken down off the shelf across the hall, paper thin walls, our salvation is bound up together it’s not what we saw, but we heard the falls, as we waited day and night through the weather and if the sun ever comes out to greet us, we’ll beat it with a brick and threaten, "if you ever try to defect again, it’s over, we’ll finish the job, and this time we mean it."

credits

from Colder Than Mars Demos, released 15 March 2015
Be sure to go check out his bandcamp page. He is the best boy.

 

 

poetry and prophecy

It's two days before Christmas, and this will probably be my last post on the subject. So it's fitting to end with a poem that my husband wrote, his reflection on the world we live in, our new neighborhood, and Advent in general. He makes me coffee every morning, gets up with the toddler in the middle of the night, listens to my every wandering thought, and writes killer poetry. I know.  typical.

Advent

by the Maiden Name

Shootings, and sweatshops, rising regimes sometimes it feels like your ever expanding rule is nowhere to be seen, like a seed in the ground that’s yet to start a sprout you tend to sometimes circumvent instead of intervene looking around as the almond branch turned the boiling pot north and drained out the drowning lifeblood of the guiltless poor

it’s beginning to feel like the harvest is passed, summer has ended and we are not saved someone’s crying in the closet for all our ill-mannered misbehaved We’ve sown wheat, and we’ve reaped thorns For the mountains and the wilderness I’ll mourn So do not listen to your prophets, your dreamers Until we break the yoke of the shorn

Our exile has been long enough to grow a bounty that has been taken away, time and again, by country and by county Are you coming quickly? Please, tell me you’re coming with haste Some say they’re patient, some say they can wait But I’ve seen abusers go their own way, unchained and I’ve seen oppression walk the streets midday and the wolves live among the sheep without dismay while we pine away

Flannel pajamas, soot-stained script Candles in the kitchen, I remember always watching that wax drip As we sing songs of the one coming, and to the one who came And it’s all sorts of awkward, the highs and lows that we sang

and I still practice advent, even in my own home my daughter calls it a birthday cake, we say it’ a private protest against Rome but we still fail and find ourselves at the mall and department stores and a few other of places I’d tell you about, but I find it too embarrassin’ of all those who might have trouble falling asleep on Christmas eve amongst all the children, it seems the empire should be most at unease

I tried my hand at Advent Conspiracy and at Buy Nothing Christmas, But justice and peace seem to just be unpurchased items on my wish list Oh well, that’s how it goes, maybe I’ll get it next year And I sing hallelujah as I chug chug chug down the cheer in the most jolly of fashions but this can’t last, it won’t last forever so our eyes are on you, King of the broken, ruling from a manger

 

 

Nothing like reading the prophets while we think about the babe in the manger.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. 

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