Tuesday, March 09, 2021

'We sing to keep ourselves from falling' - On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

I loved Ocean Vuong's poetic tale of growing up a young queer Vietnamese migrant in the US, 'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' (2019).  On the music front I liked this reflection centred around 50 Cent's 'Many Men (Wish Death)', which gets a few references in the novel:

'Trevor, beside me, was singing the 50 Cent song... I joined him. 

"Many men, many, many, many, many men"

We sang, nearly shouting the lyrics, the wind clipping at our voices. They say a song can be a bridge, Ma. But I say it's also the ground we stand on. And maybe we sing to keep ourselves from falling. Maybe we sing to keep ourselves.

"Wish death 'pon me. Lord I don't cry no more, don't look to the sky no more. Have mercy on me!"

In the blue living rooms we passed, the football game was dying down.

"Blood in my eye dawg and I can't see"

In the blue living rooms, some people won and some people lost. 

In this way, autumn passed.

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