Righteous Babe

There are certain conclusions that can be made about a girl living in Decatur who freely admits she is an Ani Difranco fan. Suffice to say I have never been, and never will be, happier than I am in my relationship with the boy.

That said, I’m freely admitting it. I love Ani.

I love her ability to make a single guitar sound like three or four. I love how gutsy she is in her presence and in her art; she’s a soul completely exposed for all to see – no pretenses, no walls. I love how strong and passionate her voice is – possibly the strongest I’ve heard from a female vocalist. I love that you can hear the joy in her voice during a live performance, like she was born to be on stage.

And I love the way her lyrics – GOD, those lyrics – can make my heart drop to my toes and plant a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit. One of the best examples of this is in “Both Hands,” a song I have yet to listen to without tears stinging the back of my eyes.

and both hands
now use both hands
oh, no don’t close your eyes
I am writing
graffiti on your body
I am drawing the story of
how hard we tried

[tear …]

I am watching your chest rise and fall
like the tides of my life,
and the rest of it all
and your bones have been my bed frame
and your flesh has been my pillow
I am waiting for sleep
to offer up the deep
with both hands

[sniff …]

in each other’s shadows we grew less and less tall
and eventually our theories couldn’t explain it all
and I’m recording our history now on the bedroom wall
and eventually the landlord will come
and paint over it all

[sob …]

Makes me hug the boy just a little tighter, just thinking of the pain that inspired such words. Though her music is hardly always melancholic. Much of it is political; most is irreverent. I have yet to catch the live show, and that sucks because every time she comes through I say I’m going to go. I just want to be in the crowd when she sings this:

I broke down in Louisiana
and I had to thumb a ride
got in the first car that pulled over
you can’t be picky in the middle of the night
he said
baby, do you like to fool around
baby, do you like to be touched
I said
maybe some other time
fuck you very much

I wanna be brave. GOD, I envy that.

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1 Comment

Filed under Sight, Sound, Touch

One response to “Righteous Babe

  1. Tracy Madigan

    Jenny,

    You write with vulnerability and a desire that knows reality, but still favors hope…and you put it all out there. Which makes you very Ani…beautiful and brave. I am so happy to know you.

    T

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