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December 6, 2022

no darkness here
(an ode to metal music)

Sara Letourneau

One chord,

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?—

beauty.

One chord,

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.