Recommended For You

by Brendan Gillen

The song is up next. The song is recommended for you, chosen amongst multitudes, gift of the machine. The song was recorded decades ago, in a light-filled room, on a far flung coast, watermark of a waking dream.
The song begins with a steady hi-hat scratch. Piano like ice. Then: the drums, the galloping thump.
You turn it up, close your eyes. The color of blood.
The song is a fading summer, drunk on the sun.
The song is her lips, the rush of her laugh, the way she bit the inside of her cheek when she parallel parked.
Moving boxes, bad pizza and bad wine, sex on the bare wood floor. How possible it all felt, how she told you she felt the same.
The song is a rupture, knife to a bike tire. The moment you know, just by the look on her face, that there will be her life. And there will be your life.
The song is we met too young.
The song is I don’t love you anymore.
A half-empty apartment, lipstick left behind in a drawer, one of her sketches, fluttering from the pages of a book.
The song is the ring you could barely afford, that she doesn’t know exists.
The song makes you want to turn it off.
The song will not let you turn it off.
The song recedes, dragging memory, wiping clean the marks.
The song is over. Gone.
The song is your discovery. The song you have been waiting to hear your whole life. The song is yours. The song will always be yours.
The song will never be yours.
The song will never be yours.
The song will never be yours.
The song does not care what it is, does not know you or owe you anything.
The song was breathing before you ever knew its name.
The song is up next, for people you’ll never see, in places you can’t pronounce. The song is theirs. The song is collective memory. First dates, first fucks, first fights, first apartments, first to say I love you, first to say I hate you, first dances, first born, first dead.
The song is made whole again, has a pulse, for the first time since it was conceived on that glowing afternoon, a golden age, a far flung coast.
The song no longer needs the machine.
The song is held, warm body in our hands, now, and long after you are dust.


Brendan Gillen’s fiction appears in X-R-A-Y, Expat, South Carolina Review, Longleaf Review, Molotov Cocktail and elsewhere. Originally from Charlottesville, VA, Brendan lives in Brooklyn, NY and recently earned his MFA from the City College of New York.


%d bloggers like this: