[Music] My top 10 tracks of 2012

My attempts to review the musical identities of years gone by have had an annoying habit of collapsing in on themselves. I like to attribute this to the fact that my choice of poison is music of a popular nature. Yes, you read that correctly – I, Robert Gould, am a loud, proud pop music fan. In fact, my only real problem with pop music is how broad the term is. In one way I feel blessed to have so many classic records to work my way through, but I’m still in the early stages of it all. As a result I’ve ended up spending so much time digesting the complete works of, say, Madonna that the a lot of the output of 2012 has gone straight over my head. Now I know some sassy people out there will say this a good thing, but when I started to work my through all the Best of 2012 lists by Popjustice, NME et al I thought that maybe it wasn’t such a bad year after all. I can only hope one of my loyal spambots has a similar epiphany upon reading through my own compilation of the dizzying musical heights reached over the last 12 months…

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By Robert Gould

Bowls in the road
catch water – then light.
Purging though darkness,
marking the season.

Pulsating ideals
leave warmth in the cold,
lit brightly and bold
are the men who refuse it.

I knew a girl who caught light everyday.

Shining not for her beauty
but for a mistake.
She watched it shift weight
in a manner most primal.

A violet veneer
now wisened her eye.

[Prose] Claire

By Robert Gould

Claire never thought she would long to be jolted awake. That instantaneous shift from the soft uncertainty of sleep to barbed panic now eluded her. There was no scramble to check her phone for hysterical messages from concerned friends, no rabid recollection of events to thwart her morning. Claire knew exactly where she was, and what she had done. She glanced up and around the hotel room for the seventh time, once again looking for a distraction; once again, the room’s heavy curtains left only shapes to be deciphered.

Dying. How she pined for a way to use this word flippantly, to see the man that lay beside her wake up, look at her, and, mirroring her glazed eyes, her dulled skin, speak of dying in the way she did on a weekly basis. To joke of the lethal concoction that were their combined hangovers, his a little more potent than hers. Now dying seemed a viable option, and would surely be more bearable than what was to come.  For Claire wasn’t incapacitated last night. She wished she had been, of course. It would’ve made her behavior a little more excusable, and a lot less cruel. She knew the man she was with to be married and she knew, from the moment they locked eyes in that awful bar, that he had certain intentions. But for whatever reason, she didn’t rise above it.

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By Robert Gould

I peel away my second skin
Release it to the wild
What lies beneath
It makes to breath
Lungs happily defiled

I’m feeding you between the bars
Bite in exchange for breath
Funny how we’re both from Mars
Yet strangers at these depths

I open every door I can
For once I pray for rain
I long for liquid birthstone
To soothe this tough terrain

I’m asking you to breathe for me
Open your eyes and breathe for me
Roll up just your sleeves for me
I know you beg for air

Peel it away

Each scale and flake
I’m leaving what remains
My gift to you is not a kiss
But a school-bell ringing out

All else I leave under the mat

I step away
Pressure remains
Like hands upon my ears
Must be my own
I am alone
I’m all I have to fear

Poster Child

By Robert Gould

(Inspired by Claudette Colvin, whose refusal to give up a bus seat to a white man predates Rosa Parks’ protest by nine months.)

And through the pipes of industry
we crawl towards equality!

I played the game
(an ancient sport),

from my remains
they made a fort.

I made a life,
a pretty thing,
with skin too white for some.
The sport I played has disappeared
from his curriculum.

They had a right to vanity,
to draw their curtains in,
lest I live up to each every thought
the whites had of my kin.

Like every game worth playing,
there was a business to uphold.
Society is now a spectrum,
mine a story left untold.

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