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Lana Del Rey

Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass (AudioBook)

I took a flying lesson on my 33rd birthday, instead of calling you
Or parking on the block where our old place used to be

Genesee, genesee, genesee

Pathetic, I know - but sometimes I still like to park on that street
And have lunch in the car just to feel close to you

I was once in love with my life here
In that studio apartment with you
Little yellow flowers on the tops of trees as our only view
Out of the only window
Big enough for me to see our future through
But it turned out I was the only one who could see it

Stupid apartment complex
Terrible you
You, who I wait for
You, you, you
Like a broken record stuck on loop

So that day, on my birthday, I thought
"Something has to change"
You can't always be about waiting for you

Don't tell anyone, but part of my reasoning for taking the flight class, was this idea that if I could become my own navigator
The captain of the sky
That perhaps I could stop looking for direction
from you

Well, what started off as an idea on a whim
Has turned into something more
Too shy to explain to the owners that my first lesson was just a one-time thing
I've continued to go to classes each week
At the precious little strip off Santa Monica and Bundy

And everything was going fine
We were starting with dips and loops
and then something terrible happened

During my fourth lesson in the sky
My instructor, younger than I, but as tough as you
Instructed me to do a simple maneuverer
It's not that I didn't do it
But I was slow to lean the sports cruiser into a right hand upward turn
Scared, scared that I would lose control of the plane

Not tactfully and not gently
The instructor shook his head, and without looking at me said
“You don't trust yourself”

I was horrified
Feeling as though I'd somehow been found out
Like he knew me
How weak I was
Of course, he was only talking about my ability as a pilot in the sky
But I knew it was meant for me to hear those words

For me, they held a deeper meaning
I didn't trust myself

Not just 25, 000 feet above the coast of Malibu
But with anything
And I didn't trust you

I could've said something but I was quiet
Because pilots aren't like poets
They don't make metaphors between life and the sky

In the midst of this mid-life, meltdown, navigational exercise in self-examination
I also decided to do something else I always wanted to do
Take sailing lessons in the vibrant bay of Marina del Ray
I signed up for the class as "Elizabeth Grant"
And nobody blinked an eye

So, why was I so sure that when I walked into the tiny shack on Valley Way, someone would say
“You're not a captain of a ship, or a master of the sky! ”
No, the fisherman didn't care, and so neither did I

And for a brief moment, I felt more myself than ever before

Letting the self proclaimed drunkard captain's lessons wash over me like the foamy tops of the sea

Midway through my forehead burned
and my hands raw from driving
The captain told me the most important thing I'd need to know on the sea

“Never run the ship into irons”
That's nautical terms for not sailing the boat directly into the wind

In order to do that though, you have to know where the wind is coming from

And you might not have time to look up to the mast
Or up further to the weathervane
So you have to feel where the wind is coming from
On your cheeks, and by the tips of the white waves from which direction they're rolling

To do this, he gave me an exercise
He told me to close my eyes, and asked me to feel on my neck which way the wind was blowing
I already knew I was going to get it wrong
“The wind is coming from everywhere, I feel it all over” I told him
“No”, he said “the wind is coming from the left. The portside”
I sat waiting for him to tell me “You don't trust yourself”

But he didn't, so I said it for him
“I don't trust myself”

He laughed gentler than the pilot, but still not realising that my failure in the exercise was hitting me at a much deeper lever

“It's not that you don't trust yourself” he said. “it's simply that you're not a captain. It isn't what you do”

Then he told me he wanted me to practise everyday so I would get better

“Which grocery store do you go to? ” he asked
“To the Ralphs in the Palisades” I replied

“Okay. When you're in the Ralphs in the Palisades
I want you, as you're walking from your car to the store
To close your eyes, and feel which way the wind is blowing
Now, I don't want you to look like a crazy person crouching in the middle of the parking lot
but everywhere you go
I want you to try and find which way the wind is coming in from
And then, determine if it's from the port or starboard side
So when you're back on the boat you have a better sense of it”

I thought his advice was adorable
I could already picture myself in the parking lot
Squinting my eyes with perfect housewives looking on

I could picture myself growing a better sense of which way the wind was blowing
And as I did, a tiny bit of deeper trust also began to grow within myself
I thought of mentioning it
but I didn't
Because captain's aren't like poets
They don't make metaphors between sea and sky

And as I thought that to myself
I realized
that's why I write

All this circumnavigating the earth
Was to get back to my life
Six trips to the moon for my poetry to arise

I'm not a captain
I'm not a pilot
I write!
I write

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