Liner Notes for Leaving: A Playlist with Ekphrastic Exploration

Liner Notes for Leaving: A Playlist

by Daniel Boscaljon


If you’d prefer to open the playlist in Spotify, click here:

Hover over the song titles below for an ekphrastic exploration of each track.


Leaving is always leaving more than a place: it is leaving yourself. You enter into a future beyond what you are. Sometimes you need to leave yourself behind. Everything has moved together too coherently: you love the dance, but it has swallowed you. You are a prisoner in its beautiful glass belly. Nothing wrests you away. You see that you yourself must become the escape. The bravest of us bear our own disruption.

Leaving is always leaving more than a place: it is leaving yourself. You enter into a future beyond what you are.
Sometimes you need to leave yourself behind. Everything has moved together too coherently: you love the dance, but it has swallowed you. You are a prisoner in its beautiful glass belly. Nothing wrests you away. You see that you yourself must become the escape. The bravest of us bear our own disruption.

You pace back and forth. You feel the pain of the question: does asking it, itself, already mean that you’ve been disrupted from your staying? Or from your leaving? What is it that you do, when you hover around?  The pacing crescendos to a scream, and you’re embraced by the chords of the guitar as the voice becomes so fragile and delicate once again. The last note, sung, prolonged:  that,  perhaps, is love. Present or not it does not leave.  A half pack of cigarettes, smoked, three with red rings of old lipstick. Two coffee cups from a gas station. No answers. Answer enough.

You pace back and forth. You feel the pain of the question: does asking it, itself, already mean that you’ve been disrupted from your staying? Or from your leaving? What is it that you do, when you hover around?

The pacing crescendos to a scream, and you’re embraced by the chords of the guitar as the voice becomes so fragile and delicate once again. The last note, sung, prolonged: that, perhaps, is love. Present or not it does not leave.

A half pack of cigarettes, smoked, three with red rings of old lipstick. Two coffee cups from a gas station. No answers. Answer enough.

The menu always looks the same at 3 a.m. It could say anything. You never are hungry for what it has. You’re too filled with what eats you.  Maybe when you’ve left, and it is raining, you need to sit in a place that is warm and dry without the exhaustion of windshield wipers. Sometimes when it is 3:00 a.m. and there are miles of frost that lay between you and your final destination, you just need a cup of cheap coffee. Maybe you notice a few teenagers, bloodshot giggles, eating pie in a corner. The place needs some paint. Everything could use a touch up. The dim bulbs make it less noticeable. It doesn’t feel like home, but it feels right. It’s a place that could be anywhere, but you found it at the right time. That makes it feel home, enough.  Waitresses are always nice. They know the places: they’ve been around its block. The regulars always show up to hold up their end of the deal. You’re the disruption to their night. It’s always waitresses in places, never waiters.  Truckers ignore you. The waitresses will too, when they’ve got problems. And working at 3:00 in the morning means there are problems that aren’t being solved.

The menu always looks the same at 3 a.m. It could say anything. You never are hungry for what it has. You’re too filled with what eats you.

Maybe when you’ve left, and it is raining, you need to sit in a place that is warm and dry without the exhaustion of windshield wipers. Sometimes when it is 3:00 a.m. and there are miles of frost that lay between you and your final destination, you just need a cup of cheap coffee. Maybe you notice a few teenagers, bloodshot giggles, eating pie in a corner. The place needs some paint. Everything could use a touch up. The dim bulbs make it less noticeable. It doesn’t feel like home, but it feels right. It’s a place that could be anywhere, but you found it at the right time. That makes it feel home, enough.

Waitresses are always nice. They know the places: they’ve been around its block. The regulars always show up to hold up their end of the deal. You’re the disruption to their night. It’s always waitresses in places, never waiters.

Truckers ignore you. The waitresses will too, when they’ve got problems. And working at 3:00 in the morning means there are problems that aren’t being solved.

You give yourself to something that isn’t you. You leave parts of yourself all over the universe: hair, fingerprints, heart ache.  Sometimes the truth disrupts the lies you’ve learned to live with. That doesn’t make the disruption any easier to bear.  you are left. you know someone is going, and your heart goes but you stay behind.  Not every farewell needs to be prolonged to be recognized.  Sometimes it just needs to be long enough to allow yourself to say it. Leave.  There’s anger. There’s hurt. There’s acceptance.  “I can’t wait forever”  “I don’t understand, you’ve already gone”  “The truth has a habit / of falling”  “You said what you have to now / Leave”

You give yourself to something that isn’t you. You leave parts of yourself all over the universe: hair, fingerprints, heart ache.

Sometimes the truth disrupts the lies you’ve learned to live with. That doesn’t make the disruption any easier to bear.

you are left. you know someone is going, and your heart goes but you stay behind.

Not every farewell needs to be prolonged to be recognized.

Sometimes it just needs to be long enough to allow yourself to say it. Leave.

There’s anger. There’s hurt. There’s acceptance.

“I can’t wait forever”

“I don’t understand, you’ve already gone”

“The truth has a habit / of falling”

“You said what you have to now / Leave”

You don’t know why you can’t sit still.  You know that freedom means that you stay. You leave.  Disruption.  Something majestic attends every tragedy. The music swells. The clock slows. The audiences applaud.  Stillness is what disrupts the tornado. No amount of hurry can catch its eye.  You want to take shelter in the swirl of winds. So majestic and triumphant, carrying up everything and everything like celebration.

You don’t know why you can’t sit still.

You know that freedom means that you stay. You leave.

Disruption.

Something majestic attends every tragedy. The music swells. The clock slows. The audiences applaud.

Stillness is what disrupts the tornado. No amount of hurry can catch its eye.

You want to take shelter in the swirl of winds. So majestic and triumphant, carrying up everything and everything like celebration.

You’re back on the road. You’re leaving, again. You pass by people and towns. They all blur: you never let them in. Everything is a color without a smell.  You’re back in the car, and you’re leaving. You don’t know what arrival even looks like anymore. You just need to go and to keep going. To leave.  Something twists up tight and you just stare ahead. You’re not in the car now. Not driving. Not forward. No forwards left. You’re not really there, now, or then. The kid walking down the sidewalk asks what’s up and you don’t even know how to respond.  Sometimes the easy questions are disruptions when you’re drowning in the tough ones. That’s why you keep leaving. When you’re going you don’t stay to answer.

You’re back on the road. You’re leaving, again. You pass by people and towns. They all blur: you never let them in. Everything is a color without a smell.

You’re back in the car, and you’re leaving. You don’t know what arrival even looks like anymore. You just need to go and to keep going. To leave.

Something twists up tight and you just stare ahead. You’re not in the car now. Not driving. Not forward. No forwards left. You’re not really there, now, or then. The kid walking down the sidewalk asks what’s up and you don’t even know how to respond.

Sometimes the easy questions are disruptions when you’re drowning in the tough ones. That’s why you keep leaving. When you’re going you don’t stay to answer.

You aren’t leaving. Now. You’ve left.  You drive and watch a lonely train pass you. You say it is lonely even tho its cars stretch out into infinity, and there is a cloud overhead. The sun is too hot today.  You change your mind, but you can’t change your heart.  You already made your disruption.  The whole of your past is wasted time. Disruption came too late,  even if your leaving came all too soon.  It’s gone. All of it.

You aren’t leaving. Now. You’ve left.

You drive and watch a lonely train pass you. You say it is lonely even tho its cars stretch out into infinity, and there is a cloud overhead. The sun is too hot today.

You change your mind, but you can’t change your heart.

You already made your disruption.

The whole of your past is wasted time. Disruption came too late,

even if your leaving came all too soon.

It’s gone. All of it.

There’s a table set, but you’re not hungry. It doesn’t smell like food, anyway. An old beer bottle, dusty, sits forgotten next to a stove caked in old grease.  Sometimes there’s hope. It stops the smell of decay.

There’s a table set, but you’re not hungry. It doesn’t smell like food, anyway. An old beer bottle, dusty, sits forgotten next to a stove caked in old grease.

Sometimes there’s hope. It stops the smell of decay.

You want to sleep, but sleep for five minutes that feels like five hours.  You’re exhausted.  It is all too heavy.  Do you remember the time you believed other things? Do you remember me? If you don’t remember things, it is the same as their never having happened. You dream that you build a home for forgotten memories. You wake feeling softly electric.

You want to sleep, but sleep for five minutes that feels like five hours.

You’re exhausted.

It is all too heavy.

Do you remember the time you believed other things? Do you remember me? If you don’t remember things, it is the same as their never having happened. You dream that you build a home for forgotten memories. You wake feeling softly electric.

A gentleness pervades it. It is the truth you want to have be true.  It feels powerful. It feels like ground beneath you.  When you had ground. When there was a beneath.  Before your life encountered disruption.  Melody. Chords. Slowness. No reason to hurry toward silence.

A gentleness pervades it. It is the truth you want to have be true.

It feels powerful. It feels like ground beneath you.

When you had ground. When there was a beneath.

Before your life encountered disruption.

Melody. Chords. Slowness. No reason to hurry toward silence.

“Gotta rush away” - The quality of being, of existing fully in our own truth is a matter of movement.  “No big differences…just the same old walkaways.” – Disruption is the only constant; perpetual, unchanging change. We are never not shedding, leaving behind, pushing forward.  “Someday I’m gonna stay—but not today.” – In this world, staying becomes the disruptive act. Ask a tree to remain the same size, ask a full moon to always persist. We are not designed for permanence.

“Gotta rush away” - The quality of being, of existing fully in our own truth is a matter of movement.

“No big differences…just the same old walkaways.” – Disruption is the only constant; perpetual, unchanging change. We are never not shedding, leaving behind, pushing forward.

“Someday I’m gonna stay—but not today.” – In this world, staying becomes the disruptive act. Ask a tree to remain the same size, ask a full moon to always persist. We are not designed for permanence.

Sometimes it is hard to know whether your leaving is out of mourning or spite. Sometimes you erase differences between the songs that inspire you to live and the ones that inspire you to leave.  Sometimes you listen and there’s only silence.  There’s headlights streaming down an empty road, the stars above an apathetic audience—the temporary urgency of the journey just another odyssey.  Sometimes the dawn emerges as something black and blue, a bruised sky divested of its power. You see the stitched network of telephone lines courting the dusty county roads that somebody once thought important to create—but not important enough to maintain. It is probably hell to drive in once it rains, but rain seems like a distant dream. Everything is far away. You’re estranged in a strange landscape, awaiting an angel to wrestle so you can pull off a blessing. You need a blessing.  Every leaving is a disruption of staying: someday you’ll settle in a final bed.

Sometimes it is hard to know whether your leaving is out of mourning or spite. Sometimes you erase differences between the songs that inspire you to live and the ones that inspire you to leave.

Sometimes you listen and there’s only silence.

There’s headlights streaming down an empty road, the stars above an apathetic audience—the temporary urgency of the journey just another odyssey.

Sometimes the dawn emerges as something black and blue, a bruised sky divested of its power. You see the stitched network of telephone lines courting the dusty county roads that somebody once thought important to create—but not important enough to maintain. It is probably hell to drive in once it rains, but rain seems like a distant dream. Everything is far away. You’re estranged in a strange landscape, awaiting an angel to wrestle so you can pull off a blessing. You need a blessing.

Every leaving is a disruption of staying: someday you’ll settle in a final bed.

You wake up.  A jazzy arpeggio descends. Something creaks.  You do not know who you are with, or how you got there: you wake up and you’ve already arrived, like you’re in someone else’s dream. You’re someone’s lover, but they’re not yours. There’s a taunt: something exposed as a way of sharing that you will never find it.  The urgency has been disrupted. Soothed.  You’re not sick but you’re still unsettled.  There’s a sense of lingering: things have been disconnected from their origins.  Others have been here before.  You aren’t in control. You probably never were. You’re summoned into a story beyond your telling and surrounded by strangers. When you wanted to leave, you never knew that this is where your going would find you.  Your disruption was someone else’s continuity. Always be grateful when you’re spit up instead of swallowed whole. Rejection can be a gift.

You wake up.

A jazzy arpeggio descends. Something creaks.

You do not know who you are with, or how you got there: you wake up and you’ve already arrived, like you’re in someone else’s dream. You’re someone’s lover, but they’re not yours. There’s a taunt: something exposed as a way of sharing that you will never find it.

The urgency has been disrupted. Soothed.

You’re not sick but you’re still unsettled.

There’s a sense of lingering: things have been disconnected from their origins.

Others have been here before.

You aren’t in control. You probably never were. You’re summoned into a story beyond your telling and surrounded by strangers. When you wanted to leave, you never knew that this is where your going would find you.

Your disruption was someone else’s continuity. Always be grateful when you’re spit up instead of swallowed whole. Rejection can be a gift.

The heart is the space of oscillation, the inner core of your ownmost unknownness. You feel yourself incline in one direction and you allow yourself to travel down that mental highway, predicting what the surroundings might entail…and the pendulum shifts and you find yourself moving back across the places that you decided not to go, back to your heart which is the centerpoint, and toward the other direction entirely.  The steadiness of your heart is always interrupted by such moments, such decisions that are never made, slowing as they reach the margins of what you can expect—that small point before your decision becomes finalized to the point that things start to change and gather beyond that now distant point. You can look back from there to see where your heart may have been, had you traveled the other way. It is too late.  You leave. You return but you don’t go back. You leave. Go the other way. Every direction feels wrong. You can’t go up. Maybe it is all down from here.  So you slow

The heart is the space of oscillation, the inner core of your ownmost unknownness. You feel yourself incline in one direction and you allow yourself to travel down that mental highway, predicting what the surroundings might entail…and the pendulum shifts and you find yourself moving back across the places that you decided not to go, back to your heart which is the centerpoint, and toward the other direction entirely.

The steadiness of your heart is always interrupted by such moments, such decisions that are never made, slowing as they reach the margins of what you can expect—that small point before your decision becomes finalized to the point that things start to change and gather beyond that now distant point. You can look back from there to see where your heart may have been, had you traveled the other way. It is too late.

You leave. You return but you don’t go back. You leave. Go the other way. Every direction feels wrong. You can’t go up. Maybe it is all down from here.

So you slow

How can you know yourself unless you’re willing to leave it all behind?  How can you know who you are if you’re stuck in the places you know?  How can you know yourself if you remain anchored to those you love?  The song continues to go: the disruption part of the continuity, always there, background or foreground. The words are in no hurry.  To wait is a disruption. To come is a disruption. To leave is the disruption you can never leave behind.  The song fades to an ending, but its insistence isn’t done. It doesn’t end. It fights to announce its leaving, to keep leaving, to continue leaving without ever having to be gone.

How can you know yourself unless you’re willing to leave it all behind?

How can you know who you are if you’re stuck in the places you know?

How can you know yourself if you remain anchored to those you love?

The song continues to go: the disruption part of the continuity, always there, background or foreground. The words are in no hurry.

To wait is a disruption. To come is a disruption. To leave is the disruption you can never leave behind.

The song fades to an ending, but its insistence isn’t done. It doesn’t end. It fights to announce its leaving, to keep leaving, to continue leaving without ever having to be gone.

Histories rewrite themselves.  When it arrives, you just have to take it. It’s leaving from somewhere. It will carry you with it, maybe, and then you’re gone too.

Histories rewrite themselves.

When it arrives, you just have to take it. It’s leaving from somewhere. It will carry you with it, maybe, and then you’re gone too.

Sometimes the sunrise is a hazy smear of orange smog and red fire over a city’s skyscape, the buildings like the spine of some lumbering beast that doesn’t know it is dead. And you know you’re leaving from there, too, even though it isn’t a place you ever visited. You don’t have to go somewhere to leave it.  You think about the eyes, and the pull of longing that leaves them watery and red-rimmed. It is hard to tell a heartache from a wild night: both leave you spent, breathless, and broken. Everything always starts and ends at 3 a.m., anyway, lit by a bare bulb on a nowhere ceiling.  “I am a rairoad track abandoned /With the sunset”  “Forgetting / I ever happened”  But there’s a beauty in these moments. Pause. Disrupt the desolation. There’s a joining you can sense that disrupts your isolation. There’s the memory of a having-been that disrupts the absolute sense of your loss.  Despite it all, you grew. You gained something, even if it is just remembering that you forgot that you lost it all.

Sometimes the sunrise is a hazy smear of orange smog and red fire over a city’s skyscape, the buildings like the spine of some lumbering beast that doesn’t know it is dead. And you know you’re leaving from there, too, even though it isn’t a place you ever visited. You don’t have to go somewhere to leave it.

You think about the eyes, and the pull of longing that leaves them watery and red-rimmed. It is hard to tell a heartache from a wild night: both leave you spent, breathless, and broken. Everything always starts and ends at 3 a.m., anyway, lit by a bare bulb on a nowhere ceiling.

“I am a rairoad track abandoned /With the sunset”

“Forgetting / I ever happened”

But there’s a beauty in these moments. Pause. Disrupt the desolation. There’s a joining you can sense that disrupts your isolation. There’s the memory of a having-been that disrupts the absolute sense of your loss.

Despite it all, you grew. You gained something, even if it is just remembering that you forgot that you lost it all.

Why not go to the moon?  Why not just leave the world behind?  Why not burn it all?  if you do, don’t forget your talisman  gravity moves strange once you’re out of orbit.

Why not go to the moon?

Why not just leave the world behind?

Why not burn it all?

if you do, don’t forget your talisman

gravity moves strange once you’re out of orbit.

You want it to be something solid. You cling to it, the clicking percussion accentuating the growing swell of sound as it coheres.  Everything is coming together. At last! At last!  Your loneliness has been disrupted. There’s a new song.  If only your voice hadn’t fallen asleep.  But it breaks and falls apart, too.  Maybe it was only a dream  You feel lost. The disruption is your life.  There’s no ground left anymore.  You hope you find hope.  You want to sit down. You want to take a break.  you forgot to bring the chairs when you left  you forgot to bring the map  there’s no going back now.

You want it to be something solid. You cling to it, the clicking percussion accentuating the growing swell of sound as it coheres.

Everything is coming together. At last! At last!

Your loneliness has been disrupted. There’s a new song.

If only your voice hadn’t fallen asleep.

But it breaks and falls apart, too.

Maybe it was only a dream

You feel lost. The disruption is your life.

There’s no ground left anymore.

You hope you find hope.

You want to sit down. You want to take a break.

you forgot to bring the chairs when you left

you forgot to bring the map

there’s no going back now.

Every conflict is based on communication: every reaction a response to a deeper truth.  Why did you leave? Where did you need to go, so badly? Was it worth the fight you faced?  Why did you stay without love? Why did you stay where you couldn’t remain? Was it worth the fight you faced?  Necessity is the mother of tragedy: the most basic motivations spoil all the rest. Finite disruption of infinite goods We’re always too greedy for each other, by any measure.  Love.  Leave.  Heave.  Hove.  Home.  Gone.  Done.

Every conflict is based on communication: every reaction a response to a deeper truth.

Why did you leave? Where did you need to go, so badly? Was it worth the fight you faced?

Why did you stay without love? Why did you stay where you couldn’t remain? Was it worth the fight you faced?

Necessity is the mother of tragedy: the most basic motivations spoil all the rest. Finite disruption of infinite goods We’re always too greedy for each other, by any measure.

Love.

Leave.

Heave.

Hove.

Home.

Gone.

Done.