06 January 2010
moons and junes and ferris wheels
Dear Joni Mitchell,
I ponder your given name: Roberta Joan Anderson. Roberta. You, my sweet wildflower, are not a Roberta. Robertas are practical, brunette, chocolate-eyed, with perhaps the vim of a teenager and the tenacity of a crusader. You are lithe, languid, like your songs...Joni suits you infinitely better. You have just a "little green" in your eyes, "pretty green" and "blue," "ink on a pin." You, my dear, are a lady of the canyon, a singer, a skater, a drifter, a seer, a cactus tree. No offense, no regrets to the coyote, but that ferocity, at least thrust outward, was never your trademark. A cool dark stone, the weight of lead, the weight of disappointment and dreams lost-- that is your only demon.
I wish I had your quiet strength, Joni, your teflon toughness (even though cacti hide fragile fruit underneath). But I wish that you had kept your stone, that toxic weight, to yourself. I don't need any enemies, let alone myself and my own foolish quest for perfection. What did you say? "Songs are like tattoos?" Well, so are expectations and swallowed words and 3 AM swirls of uncapturable thought. How I mourn that I lack your uncanny ability to speak the right words, and how I detest the knowledge that I am the only one who makes me stumble.
Perhaps I should grow my hair to be a bohemian veil, a shield of mystery, a beautiful obscurity to keep others out and my insights in. Maybe then I could have your bravery and conquer the anxiety I feel when I stand in front of a room and others await my wisdom with bated breath.
How did you stay so beautiful for so long, with so many cigarettes a day and so many lovers who broke your heart? Lately I look in the mirror and feel begrimed. I feel like that stone, like lead. How can I expect my thoughts to ascend skywards when my body sinks, sinks, sinks to the ground? Yes, I know that it's silly and shallow, but Joni, you were once a beauty queen. You know what female anxieties can be, and you were slender as sunshine with lips like tulip petals. I wish that life were simpler, that we could return to a time of styrofoam-cup-telephone lines and candy floss. But my heart is full and hollow...