December 9th, 2007
1957 clip of Billie Holiday singing with a band.
There are moments — at 2:55; at 3:53 — where the language of mouth, brow and eye rival and sometimes sing down anything that could come from throats or be blown through brass.
Where so much is untranslatably sung through skin — her lip half-sucked, her head jauntily cocked a half second before a dark note sounds.
Where her face, her dark liquid eyes seem barely able to boundary whole countries of emotion; barely able to fence sharded feelings jostling against each other behind and ahead of the beat.
Where lip-bites & pursings, languid head-shakes, coy half-smiles shuffle spectra of emotion — loss, joy, hunger, demureness, wistfulness, regret, swagger, nerve — everything & everything; Where skin, contour, wrinkle, tissue and muscle are all barely able to keep up with what the heart has to say –
& so over and over I watch her, the sound off, & she’s so vividly there it hurts to watch, clips the breath while you wait for hers to pour.