December 6, 2022
no darkness here
(an ode to metal music)
and I plunge back
into the nights when I would steep myself in you
and your whorling of riffs and double-kicks,
syncopated rhythms in waltz or quintuple time,
sometimes bathed in synths and strings,
sometimes led by soprano seraphim or baritone kings
and other times by beasts of nightmare.
I never simply listened.
Each of your songs was an ocean,
and I would submerge myself, drifting underwater
until your perpetual canon of voices ran slick across my skin
and the opening notes thrummed with the final ones
like the convergence of two seas,
and only when I surfaced would I remember
that I was supposed to be analyzing you,
critiquing you for a magazine’s audience.
Fast-forward to tonight—
you still call to me as if by name,
even though last night my amygdala
craved Adele and Lindsey Stirling,
but metal is a wolf’s cry, howling
not just to the dark corners of my soul
but to the whole moon of it,
craters and shadows and light and all,
and so when you beckon in the echoes
of Katatonia, Ayreon, or Within Temptation,
I can’t refuse.
Yes, you know me,
down to my most explosive truths,
such as how some metalheads don sundresses
and flip-flops instead of corsets or all black,
or how some rebels speak compassion
so they can keep their revolution for the pen and page,
or how there is no darkness here
but an ever-expanding universe full of
cascading solos for comets, crescendos for supernovas,
nebulae of dust and self, hydrogen and—
dare I say it?—
and I plunge back
into the ocean you made for me,
back into a body of music you made
with my own flesh and bone and tissues,
with a cadence akin
to a heartbeat.
“No Darkness Here (An Ode to Metal Music)” was originally published by Golden Walkman Magazine in December 2019.
Sara Letourneau is a poet as well as the book editor, literary coach, and writing workshop instructor at Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services. She is also the cofounder of the Pour Me a Poem monthly open mic series. Her poetry has received first place in the Blue Institute’s 2020 Words on Water Contest and appeared in Mass Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, Arlington Literary Journal, Constellations, Living Crue, Soul-Lit, and Amethyst Review, among others. She lives in Massachusetts.