“Close to Me” by Ashley Riley Melts Even My Cantankerous, Misanthropic Heart

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Image borrowed from Ashley Riley’s Bandcamp page.

was just cruising around the internet, minding my own business, being the DUDE that I am (and I am a DUDE), when I stumbled upon this soul-melting hell-demon of a song. Instantly I found myself frozen in place, at once captivated by the song’s beauty and horrified by a tickling sensation in my heart.

Was that emotion that I felt? Emotion of the softer kind? Was it…longing, grief, and love?

Damn it, it was.

It was all those things and in great and terrible quantities.

Charles Bukowski, Poet King of Skid Row, wrote that “love is a dog from Hell.” I disagree with much of Buk’s worldview, but that part I always agreed with.

Bukowski was a cat man, though. For him, the hell-dog of love was all bad.

Me, I love dogs, so his statement is a little more nuanced in my unfortunately still-beating heart. I shall have to work harder to stamp all that is left of softer emotion, I suppose.

Until then, though, Riley’s “Close to Me” continues to confound me with its emotive power. My favorite line in the song: “Running in place, I’ve memorized the ceiling.”

Memorized the ceiling…yea, I’ve been there. Too many times. Goddamn song actually brought little teeny tiny mists to my pitiful eyes. Not tears, mind you. I’m incapable of such manifestations.

“Feel-fog,” I call it. The song gave me feel-fog in my eyes.

Beautiful stuff, damn it.

FINE. I’ll listen one more time…

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I’m not in the Matrix. I AM the Matrix.

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