Heaven’s Hammer

Right before I left for Malaysia this past Christmas I sat down on the floor of my bedroom and made a mix CD for my dear friend who lives just down the hill from me here in Mt. Vic. Little did I know that on the very same night she was making me a mix CD too, with all sorts of great songs on it, which I have listened to, off and on, for the last six months.

And you know how it is, sometimes with music. You can just be going about your business, walking to the bus stop or to New World or to the Sunday market, and a song will come up out of nowhere and hit you, hard. Uh oh, you might think, here we go again, and the song becomes your song, except: does it belong to you or do you belong to it?

I prayed heaven today
Would bring its hammer down on me
And pound you out of my head
I can’t think when you’re in it

Sometimes you need to listen to a song again and again and again, over and over and over. Sometimes the song won’t let you be, will keep singing itself to you when you least expect it. “Leave me ALONE” you might say forcefully to the song, as your fingers scrabble for the Play button again, “I am BUSY,” but the song doesn’t listen and doesn’t care. The song laughs in your face and starts up all over again.

I dragged all that I owned
Down a dirt road to find you
My shoes worn out and used
They can’t take me much farther

Last night the same friend who gave me this song came over to visit me on my sickbed and we lay on the floor as if we were sunbathing on oversize towels on a beach and talked about all our heartbreaks, as you do with the best friends (the only friends).

“Those people all have a room in my heart,” I told her, “and after they’ve left I try to empty out the room and lock the door.”

“Are you telling me you have…a lot of empty rooms in your heart with nothing in them?”

“Yeah, I think so. I don’t know what to do with them, now. They’re mostly just dusty.”

“Put in circus practice equipment. Or a garden. Or a library. Fill it with something. Don’t just let them stay like that.” She is a good and wise and kind friend. She is much smarter than me.

Something always takes the place of missing pieces
You can take and put together even though
You know there’s something missing

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” I said, not quite meeting her eye. “I think you can fill the rest of the house with those things, with all sorts of other things, but I think those rooms just sort of stay that way. They stay locked. You know?”

“This metaphor doesn’t make much sense to me,” she said, shaking her head.

Something always takes the place of missing pieces
You can take and put together even though
You know there’s something missing

I walked through a light unpromising drizzle this afternoon, pressing Repeat, pulling my hat tight to my head. Nothing is missing, nothing is gone. Those rooms in my heart are empty, empty; sealed off and shut tight. The rest of my heart is full and fine and fresh, and that slight whispering I hear sometimes is just the wind coming through the cracks and stirring up the dust, swelling and exhaling to the shape of this song.


Lyrics to “Heaven’s Hammer (Missing)” by Beck from Guerito, 2005. All lyrics are the property and copyright of their respective owners. All lyrics are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

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2 comments

  1. Rachlovestheweb

    Heaven’s Hammer is an AWESOME song and yeah, resonates a lot. But your mixtape maybe should have included some Foo Fighters. Maybe a little “See you in Hell”…? “DOA” also has some of my favourite lines including:
    Oh you know I did it/
    It’s over and I feel fine/
    Nothing you could say is gonna change my mind/
    ……
    Never mind there’s nothing I can do/
    Bet your life there’s something killing you
    ……..
    I’m finished, I’m getting you off my chest/
    Made you come clean in a dirty dress
    …….
    Take a good hard look for the very last time/
    The very last one in a very long line/
    Only took a second to say goodbye/
    Been a pleasure but the pleasure’s been mine, all mine
    ………..

    Still not sure I can understand the rooms metaphor, but the Foo lyrics, I feel, serve as a good eviction notice, as in; “get the f*** outta my room, dirtbag, the people are already here install the new circus practice room/sauna/entertainment centre and you are IN MY WAY”.

    If I had rooms that’s how it would make sense to me. But I don’t think I have rooms.

  2. This is lovely and a little melancholy and incredibly resonant with me right now. Trying to fill in the rest of my heart.