Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg (songs)

I’ve had the immense pleasure of knowing my friend Taylor for thirteen years.  She is one of only two friends I’ve kept from my pre-college years.  (The other friend is her twin, Jennie. Full disclosure there.) Moving makes friendships difficult, but it’s never been a question for us.  Not even a stint in Hungary could keep up apart!  (That was an awful year.)

Before I started taking writing classes, and posting ridiculous words here,  Taylor was the only person I would share anything with.  She was the only person who didn’t think it was crazy to spend hours talking about characterization.  And she’s the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable talking to about, like, boys.  I mean, let’s be honest.  You can’t talk about sex things with your blabber-mouth sisters unless you want to be put in a convent. …I’m so uncomfortable right now.  I love you, blog friends, but you are not Taylor and therefore we are done talking about reproductive acts.

I love Taylor a lot.  She’s funny, passionate, and ebullient.  She has the unique tragedy/gift of living viscerally.  That’s one of my favorite things about her.  I guard my emotions as if acknowledging them will invalidate them.  Taylor feels deeply and truly and unabashedly.  Unfortunately, those feelings are sad feelings right now.  She’s wearing heavy boots.

And maybe some of you have heavy boots, too.  Maybe you need to listen to some sad songs to feel better again.  The verses are from Richard Hugo’s “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg”, a poem I like very much.  I like it because a) the last good kiss I had was years ago, b) this is a break-up mix and, c) Taylor is a slender girl with red hair that lights the wall.  I’m not above literal interpretations.

Taylor even hung out with me when I looked like a poodle at my sister’s wedding. She’s a champ.


“Say your life broke down.  The last good kiss//you had was years ago. … Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss//still burning out your eyes? … and the girl who serves your food//is slender and her red hair lights the wall.”

Perfect Disguise / Modest Mouse
Mr. Moon / Eisley
When You Were Mine / John Heart Jackie
Hospital Song / Ben Folds Five
Hey Ya / Obadiah Parker
Close to Me [Closet Remix] / The Cure
A Comet Appears / The Shins
Shrinking Violet / Bishop Allen
Someday You Will Be Loved / Death Cab for Cutie
Are We All Forgotten? / Paper Route
Penelope / Pinback
The General Specific / Band of Horses (Also, Julia Nunes version!)
Where the Good Ones Go / Danielle Ate the Sandwich
The Engine Driver / The Decemberists (My boots got much too heavy here.)
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight / The Postal Service (Even heavier!)
Keepsake / State Radio (CEMENT BLOCK BOOTS)
We Are Young / Fun
Blue Skies / Noah and the Whale

I’m sorry if these links stop working.  I’m also sorry if listening to these makes you impossibly sad.  Blue skies!


2 thoughts on “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg (songs)

  1. Friends like Taylor are more than wonderful – I can’t say I have a friendship that has lasted as long as 13 years (my goodness! awesome!), but I do have a friend who I can talk about boys/sex/intimate life things with minimum embarrassment. (Interwife to the rescue! Gosh, she has taught [feels like the wrong word – going with it] me so much in this realm… ahem… now *I’m* uncomfortable. Moving on. Boys are gross! #solutions)

    Degrees of Gray in Phillipsburg (the poem) is super wonderful. Ahhh. I refrained from listening to the mix, as my sadness levels are not too high right now, but I know I will be back when I need it. I love you! I send hugs to Taylor, if she is reading/you desire to pass on the strange (or not strange! humans are lovely, and she sounds EXTRA lovely) message. And I send this:

    <3 Scrotums (and love) for life. What am I saying? Okay. I will (maybe) sleep now.

    • Friends like YOU are wonderful!! I’ve been wearing my hat all night. I love it. You are so amazing. If I had your skills I would do nicer things than make silly CDs.

      I went to The Nicest Place on the Internet, and it was very nice. UNTIL TWO PEOPLE STARTED STRAIGHT UP SNOGGING. Then I was all, “Excuse me while I have a single ladies dance party.”

      <3 …god that looks like a scrotum. Love you!! :D

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