Anthesis (1): Peppermint Ice Cream

“Because he’d melt into a summer night
Perspire wasps and fire flies
And I’d awake in puddles of
Wintergreen peppermint ice cream.”

I’ve named every piano that has ever been given to me. I do this not necessarily because it cements the feeling of ownership, but because it feels appropriately whimsical, and seems like good luck. My baby grand, which is lying in storage and will soon be sold, is called Claude. The portable keyboard I carry with me from state-to-state is called Vermeer, after the painter.

Recently, I took a week of vacation and went home, down south, to visit another one of my pianos (how many does a single person need?): Dietrich, the digital upright. Dietrich is an interesting case. I somewhat resent the fact that he is digital, the purist in me preferring a more natural sound; but I can’t complain much about his sound, or the weight of his keys, and he is conveniently small enough that my mother doesn’t feel the need to get rid of him.

He is also the first piano upon which I began recording any of my original songs. At least, the first songs in which I wasn’t consciously trying to imitate someone. These are pieces of music and lyric that I am not particularly fond or proud of, but that demarcate a very specific period in my life, and hold some weight in my personal history. To my surprise, I found several of these songs deep within the bowels of Dietrich’s digital memory; so, for a lark, and armed with a more mature voice, I decided to re-record them. This little EP I have decided to call “Anthesis: the indehiscent bloom”.

The first in this EP, “Peppermint Ice Cream”, was written in the late 2000s. When I showed it to my mother, she gently mocked me for it.

“I can tell that it’s not recent,” she said.

“Because of the simplicity?”

“No. Because of your subject: ‘boy’,” the word boy coming out in almost a sing-song.

I grinned and conceded her point. Yes, my usage of the word “boy” is very telling. The subject is a “boy” as opposed to a girl, woman, or man. At that point in time, I was still expecting myself to like what everyone else liked—which is exactly what the Peppermint Ice Cream Boy embodies: dark, moody, delicate, troubled, in need of saving. Though, if you listen to the lyrics, it’s obvious that I have no intention of saving him:

“Mon petit bijoux
I know you want me to
Spread your limbs askew
And take a knife to you”

Which, now that I look at it, is definitely a precursor to other things I’ve discovered in my adult life.

I consider “Peppermint Ice Cream” the first real song I ever composed and completed. It’s simple, maybe even monotonous, with overly-pensive wording that smacks more of poetry than lyrics. Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.

But maybe I lied; maybe I am a bit fond.


Peppermint Ice Cream

I met a boy last week, he
Tasted like peppermint ice cream;
I made a promise then that
I’d never fall in love with him
Because he’d melt into a summer night
Perspire wasps and fireflies
And I’d awake in puddles of
Wintergreen peppermint ice cream

Mon petit bijoux
Oh how you want me to
Mon petit bijoux
I know you want me to

Lick you up and lick you down
And spread your salt over the ground
Wash the earth with sulfur tears
So nothing grows for 60 years
Because you paralyze my body boy
Put ataxia in my tongue
The first taste of your creamy sweat
And oh, my bell got rung

Mon petit bijou
I know you want me to
Spread your limbs askew
And take a knife to you

Cut into you like butter,  boy
Bleed you like an orange
Stretched until you’re autschwiz thin
Until your wrists are torn
[torn, pretty
Wrists and fingers torn]

I met a boy last week, he
Tasted like peppermint ice cream
So unnaturally sweet
A boy like peppermint ice cream.

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