in spring of 2003, i had nightmares, the worst nightmares, nightmares that would wake me from my sleep screaming, sweating. my friend sarah had died suddenly, and i was having eternal problems with the eternal girl. i only ate kidney beans and bourbon and chocolate and coffee; the volume of chocolate was good because i actually got to a point where i couldn't sleep anymore because of how much sugar i was eating. the less i slept, the fewer nightmares i had.
and despite all of that stuff, i felt relatively calm. i read and re-read the invisible man; i made As in all my classes; i was inscrutable but, as i remember, affable enough; i drank on weekend mornings and kind of purpled out for days, blank.
"idylls of the king" is currently my favorite song on tallahassee because it knows that feeling: the eye of the storm, or something quieter and even more terrible. on such a hysterical, dramatic album, a moment like "idylls" is the key, a reminder that most of the worst times in our lives are probably better marked by long stretches of pleasant indifference--"these days, full of promise and potential, more clay pigeons for you and me."
i realize that i spend precious little time talking about john darnielle's music, which, while pretty uniform, makes a huge impact on the more recent studio albums (tallahassee, we shall all be healed, the sunset tree, get lonely). "idylls of the king"'s samba shuffle is featherlight--a compliment to the destructive indifference of the lyrics in a fairly IRONIC--if we grant him that power, and i do--way. i wrote a total of one paper on poetry in college, about john ashbery's "daffy duck in hollywood"; if i wanted to write about poetry alone, i'd go back to college.