Bishop Allen’s song The Monitor, from their March EP, is exactly the kind of song or poem I wish I could write. The key to successfully writing about one’s self is to avoid saying things such as “I am like such and such,” or “my rage or love or whatever is like a vortex on a string.” Write about something else, and people will see you.
I wonder what provoked this song. It's hard to tell what inspired it, even though it's a narrative with some pretty clear pictures. We travel through the present, down the street, into an old ironworks, and out the other side to the River James, where the Monitor and the Virginia/Merrimack battle it out. We travel into the Monitor as the shells strike the ship and the din stuns the crew. The crew passes through the crucible and carries on, and we move back to the present, where the narrator carries on, unsure if he is in or around or doing anything significant.
I would like a picture of the evening this was written (surely it was evening). Was he on the street he sings of? Had he read a plaque at some monument? Was he in a library? Just looking out a window toward the ironworks? If I had written it, a cigar would have been in the picture, but I suspect instead copious cigarettes.
I am jealous, because I've never painted such a huge picture of myself, and I really want to, because I'm vain. Perhaps if I were more humble...