When Boys for Pele came out, I was fifteen and brim-filled with anger and with the desire to be who I was instead of who I was told to be. The first time I listened to the CD, I was shocked and raw and bewildered and exhilarated and, most of all, irrevocably changed. In Amos’ music, I found the flipside of Southern womanhood, the Goddess of IDGAF who not only allowed herself to be open and angry and powerful but who proved that being a woman who’s open about anger is itself powerful. In her lyrics, I found the inexhaustible possibilities of language, which, I learned, didn’t have to be soft or easy or even entirely translatable. It just had to be real, authentic, individual — another kind of power.
(me talking about my queen Tori Amos in Glass: A Journal of Poetry)
I wrote a poem inspired by one of the most powerful (and maybe my favorite — maybe? — it’s impossible to choose) songs from Tori Amos‘ Boys for Pele, the album I’ve probably played more than any other (seriously — I’ve kept two copies of the CD in my car, just in case one got damaged, for as long as I’ve had a car). It’s called “In the Springtime of Her Voodoo” and I’m proud to say you can read it online in the latest issue of one of my favorite lit mags, Glass: A Journal of Poetry.
While you’re there, you can read more about why Tori Amos has been pretty much everything to me and my work as a writer since that life-changing day in 1994 when I heard the first gorgeous notes of Under the Pink. You can hear me read the poem, too, and, perhaps more importantly, you can see this totally awesome and completely badass live performance of “In the Springtime of His Voodoo” from MTV Unplugged, which, now that I’ve mentioned it, I have to go and watch again. Maybe like five times. In a row. At least.