[PREMIERE] Varien LP Review, Part 1: Ghost Heart Boyfriend (GHB)
PHOTO CREDITS// THE OTHER PLACE.
[This is part 1 of our three part special series covering the exquisite as fuck new Varien LP. We thought music as complex and rich in its humanity as this deserved a likewise response. So we ditched the traditional 411 format and went for a creative approach. We wanted to show you where the music took us. And music this deep took us to surprising places. SUPPORT VARIEN HERE.
BUY THE LP ON ITUNES . AND CHECK BACK TOMORROW AND FRIDAY FOR PARTS 2 AND 3.]
Ghost heart boyfriend. See you getting it on, on the ottoman. 6 metres out my grasp. Could come to you. Pull, on great big tufts of armpit hair. Say, Get in your place. But where the fuck is that? And pull you by the energy of what? My knees are crumbling empires.
See you move him to the sofa. In the mirror, stretch out your arms like they go from Moscow to Manhattan. Not a Wrestlemania move, that arm flex. Just as thin a façade of what makes a man a man, though. Recover your power, even though it’s all script. Slam into him. Make him shout. A substitute for all the silence. Don’t know how you keep your rhythm. When I fuck him I cut my head open. Everything’s a sharp edge when you’ve got ankles screaming for two exits because
standing still is scribbling ‘I.am.here’ into the air
////THE ANCIENT AND ARCANE///
Never been in one place–all of me seeing.sharing.sexing the same scene–my whole life. Seconds after stumbling out the uterus that (mis)shaped me, always searching for somehow to be somewhere other than the six centimeters in front of me where the air shot out my nostrils claims is mine. All moments are multiverses and I never made myself known in the one my mother mixed madness, moxy and some man’s DNA to make me in. Sex used to bring me there. Made thread counts and magic moments of lovers inside me clear as day. Then the sadness disease came. And you and all of you on me felt threadbare. Magic became just another thing I didn’t know how to miss. I lost my way home.
Ghost heart boyfriend sees the world so I don’t have to. Spectre sex partner as he is, he doesn’t have the sounds to say /yeah.that.shook.my sheets. /you.sucked./ should’ve.watched.The.Sopranos.instead/. Had muscle memory of what I used to mouth to them. Nope, feels like a douche move. Mocking a version of myself that felt. Ghosts can sigh. But they’re only a semi-real sound, anyways. No power to them. Just gas banished from your body by all the burps of your spine being swallowed. No need to say a word if you can’t stand on his sheets for two seconds. If your feet were 16 metres from his the whole time. Didn’t even breathe the same airspace when kissing.
One man made all these moments violence. Took one night, midnight-6am. Slipped me GHB, soul simmered to oblivion. Made my way out semi-alive. Been a refugee when hands touch me ever since. Took 6 months for the rustle of sheets to not sound like the sirens. The smack of my skull against the sidewalk . All the shouts of doctors to not run towards the escape I saw, just sitting in that bright light to somewhere. Couldn’t help myself. Said hello to the light a few times, was shocked back. Running is what I do, my normal since I had seven breaths in me.
Hard to strip down, totally
Keep something wearable on your bones
So you don’t have to walk home from the ER in a hospital gown. Because all your clothes are sitting in his Capital Hill apartment and you’re so not going there again. Had to run because the nurses kept blaming you. Assholes. Looked like an escaped mental patient. Sprinting down Summit Avenue with that flimsy gown falling to pieces on my limbs like a paper towel trying to be a toga. Ass bare, exposed. All the blood in the small of my back—my most tender of places—a flare gun for all the motorists to know where I’d been, where I’d be going. All those stitches made a bloody map of misanthropy and stolen time from last night. Made everything clear, vulnerable about me when I wanted nothing more than to be invisible, armed with a machete against the madness making its way into my mind.
Keep a shirt on at least, always
Might need to be somewhere
So not here, any second
Six years later, learned how to pass off that shaky part of me as swagger. This time, Ghost Heart Boyfriend, got you donned in Gucci like a gay Don Draper. Pants around your ankles, still inside him. On the bed, but also sitting on top of the TV. Sorta cheering you on, so starting to suffocate. I took myself down those streets again, thinking like this. Triggered all these ancient and arcane smacks to my memory of when I was a normal guy who hooked up. See Spanish guy start to suss out I’m a little screwed up, shaky on my back. Shite. Even if I had the sounds I couldn’t say anything to him. He’s sin nombre, like they all are. Because he’s not supposed to matter, no matter how long we sit between the sheets. He’s just somebody, some body. De-personalize them, as they you.
These nights are all about Ghost Heart Boyfriend and I, the things we say. He can soothe me, sometimes. We start talking but I’m so far over the red line of sanity, all my sentences are about how I think Draper should’ve died at the end of Mad Men. Should’ve slammed himself out a skyscraper, sink into serenity. Don Draper is my spirit animal and I think he should’ve sat out the rest of his life, splattered on Sixth Avenue.
Talk to me, GHB, forget where you are. So can’t breathe. At this point this guy’s screams are like Swahili and I’m shooing them all away cos it’s all happening in some other place.
Ghost Heart Boyfriend leans against the window. Sigh. Try to tell Spanish dude I need a moment. Sigh. Start to panic but all the sounds are sighs. Fuck. His mouth fogs the window . It’s not the room. Not outside. 40 degrees Celsius, both. It’s you, you’ve gone cold. GHB pulls out, says screw finishing. Takes my hand, trips over his errant pants to pull me in front of paned glass and say:
You know there’s no me, you. It’s all you. Disassociated, you. You’re always showing up on the streets below these buildings, slow-dancing to your sadness in silence. Still, when you’re out there you’re still in me, shouting. Those shouts are another kind of beast. And they hurt like fuck slamming against my esophagus.
Fuck, boy, let’s talk.
////TRANSMISSIONS FROM LEMURIA///
Shot out of there in 73 seconds. Rudely counted my rush to leave, didn’t say goodbye. Have one of his shoes on. We landed in a Sathorn dive bar, Ghost Heart Boyfriend and I. But I’m totally ignoring him. Got a whiskey, neat. Sipping it pacing so he doesn’t reach for the small of my back and try to stitch me up. Those always bleed again when I get like this. So don’t want to be in my head, there’s no way out. No Google Maps for the fucked up, up there.
Smell a distraction, literally. Versus by Versace simmers on his Armani shirt. Gives me the goddamn vapors. Yes, sir. This time I’ll get it right. Never ceased being stubborn about that, all these disastrous times. So close to this dapper fella, you can see the swagger in his irises reflected in the liquor. Try to not show him mine. They ripple weakness in my glass of liquid courage.
Take him to the dancefloor. Get the DJ to turn on some Little Dragon. Turn my brain into radio silence. Transmit sounds so I can roar, can Klapp Klapp until Ghost Heart Boyfriend isn’t sitting on this guy’s skull, patiently. Gonna kiss him, because speaking sucks. Lips touch and ghosts spew out my mouth. Shoot right up this guy’s nose. Gonna infect him with my sadness. Shite. It’s just memories and spectres of all the sounds no one ever said and all these fucking Casper the sick-in-the-head ghosts swirling everywhere. Tried to ignore them, now all these sounds are like blood splatter, everywhere. So unsexy.
All right, I’ll speak.
Have to talk about how silence
Stole my sex appeal
About why I thought falling out a 30 story window in the middle of sex was something you do. In Spanish guy’s room, reached a limit. Was tired of yelling at myself. To get the fuck down. Kept seeing myself floating along the ceiling while his lips soaked my areola. Stuck on the bed while he was 6 metres away, stripping. Totally missed all memory of his flat, thick rugby body stomach. My favorite, not in my spank bank because I couldn’t take my eyes off myself. Paranoid my shoes were gonna float by his ear and kick the guy in the fucking face. Sex with a soul schism. PTSD.
GHB took me outta that room to this barstool tonight, to tell those transmissions of a trauma that won’t shut the fuck up to give my larynx back. If I knew how to speak, tonight I could’ve used words to trace an outline of my body in bed. Sit in it, even if I have to starfish. Could’ve told him how to tug at my mind tendons if my toes were floating off vertically. Can slap me if I’m mouthing words to Ghost Heart Boyfriend, telling him when to moan. Don’t have to fake a thing when I use my words like a human. A real human with stomach hair, a mind that knows your name. Not a ghost heart that can’t get it up for any feeling.
Bask in the blackness of Bangkok at night. Sit atop a skyscraper. Feet dangling. City lights feel as distant as stars. Even as they shine directly in my cornea. Like fireflies that fuck with my eyeholes. So many Thai footsteps below me, sounds like a cavalcade of all the things they’re going to coo to the people waiting in their beds. Should stir me, make my blood shake. I feel nothing. Think of jumping, sometimes. Because I can’t make myself understood. Even liked. But my ghost boyfriend bashes through my stomach. Kills my nerve. Says no.
I don’t know what the fuck to say anymore
I’m a foreigner to every cerebellum catching air
Used to think silence was the loudest way to speak. Now I know they stop seeing you when you stop shouting. Ghost heart boyfriend smiles, breaks my shins. Sees me scream so loud all of Sathorn hears. Says,
See, you can be heard.
Get these ghost spores out of you.
Life isn’t a bacchanal of GHB-sponsored busted smiles and Ghost Heart Boyfriends beating you over the head in the bedroom.
Say to yourself it’s all ok. It isn’t. Say to yourself you can go it alone. You can’t do it (well). Say to yourself, say the sounds so others can hear—that it needs to be over—and it will.