MANIFESTO

OPOSSUM is a literary marsupial (scruffy, rat-tailed, opinionated) who’s obsessed with music, like she can’t live without it, this itch deep in her chest from a note gone aching blue, this itch she can only scratch with pencil lead. Her lover done gone and the light moves slow across the floor of her room. Or, righteous and rabid, she wants to destroy the cage she’s in! She’s among the devout, praising the bounteous garden of the night. She’s a Mad Maestro, conducting a symphony of impulses like atoms in a chain reaction. All the places music takes her, she tries to map—scratch, scribble, scratch—on the silent page. Just like you.

But the mum compact between eye and word, how it counterpoints the impact of rhythm and melody on body and ear. They are not the same, and the gulf between them teases her out of thought as dost eternity. Music—born in the big boom-boom-bap of time, living in the buzz of breath on a blade of grass, the pluck of a gut string, crescendoing in the feedback roar of a great flood—music ends in silence. Where the word begins.

Or does it? Does language issue from the silence of mind or the gurgling gutturals of throat, tongue, and teeth? Is thought just another of hunger’s elaborate tricks? Is the written word a score for speech and speech its own music? And at their best, don’t songs and stories, symphonies and poems, ford the same troubled waters and sound the same depths in her soul? Don’t they trick her into believing she’s not alone, don’t they make her want to die, don’t they make her want to live forever inside them?

To write adolescent confusion that reads like heavy metal without once invoking Slayer, to make a poem a critic will one day call Li Po Doo Wop, to conceal the tracklist of Nina Hagen’s NunSexMonkRock in an essay about the death of a local herbarium: these are all projects on her to-do list.

To enact, describe, dispute, growl at, sex up, rock against, boogie down on, rave or holla about the tension she feels between music heard and the written word: that’s what she’s all about. And so are you.

Send her your tales, verse, and essays. There are no limits.