To Conor Oberst – At the Bottom of Everything

While my mother waters plants,
My father loads his guns.
He says, "Death will give us back to God,
Just like the setting sun, returns to the lonesome ocean."

- "At the Bottom of Everything" by Bright Eyes

Dear Conor,

I read this somewhere, I remember now. They said your music was for girls with choppy neon hair that sat in bars reading Kerouac and smoking clove cigarettes. The kind of girls you’d read about in a Murakami novel. Quirky girls.

Alas, to my fourteen year old self’s dismay, I was abysmally ordinary. Bored and impressionable, but perspicacious in the way that most unassuming adolescents are. And yet, I found Fevers and Mirrors, an auricular anthology documenting your undiluted anguish. I was thrilled to the bone. Addicted to your pain.

The songs weren’t pretty. They didn’t have gratifying nuances or prolific filigree. But they reached the cold vacuum in my chest nonetheless, possessing me.

And so began the affair – un-romantic, but not loveless. Naked, fierce, and easy.

Through hate and humiliation and poetry, you taught me that there was beauty in insignificance, in pain, in desperacy. An intrinsic sense of understanding settled in my belly, consuming lyrics, metaphors, and melodies.

Sometimes, if I paused for too long,
breathing and bathing in your craft mid-song,
it devastated me.

Dear Conor,
at the very bottom of everything,

I don’t know if I love your music anymore, but it doesn’t matter, does it? Either way,
it’s a part of my being.

Love,
No One

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To Murakami – Kafka Belongs To Me

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Hey,

I want to speak to you like a friend. I’m nefarious enough to take that liberty. Callous enough to use words like I do my own fingers. Naïve enough to trust myself with ideas I believe I comprehend.

Dear Mr. Murakami,

Your words belong to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid or trying to act stupidly smart to garner any form of attention.

In the crude expanse of lonely minds turning to books for comfort, words for escape, yours enveloped me like the warmest touch. Seriously, I was so lost I wanted to cry. That’s how I knew your words had branded me as theirs. Pouring into my own bloodstream, orchestrating the very pounding of my heart.

And in return, I embraced your words as mine. Breathing them in greedily. “Like a wanton crack whore.” (Is it narcissistic to quote myself?)

When I read Kafka On The Shore, I made it my own. As every now then, a simple sentence reached out and grazed my ribcage, I left that sensation between the pages like a mundane but essential bookmark.

I can’t even begin to gauge how it must feel to be the inadvertent puppeteer of so many minds, emotions, skipped-heartbeats. I hope it feels incredible. Because your words definitely make me feel incredible.

I hope every happy feeling connects back to you the way your words connect to us. Like an elaborate labyrinth of energies.A gargantuan web of sensations. One that beats loneliness.

Maybe it exists, and that’s why books give us comfort, and words escape.

Yours truly,
Anupama