Twice, TWICE, she found a piece of scrap paper on which I’d scrawled the lyrics for “No Children,” and thought it was a poem I’d written about her. The first time I was there and could explain that it was a Mountain Goats song, and that I was trying to figure out how to sing it. The second time we were broken up, and I guess she’d forgotten the first time. I tried again to tell her it wasn’t my work, but it didn’t matter — at that point, I was learning, nothing about us mattered.
The song is dark, and sad, and honest, and beautiful. There’s something perfect about it being sung all together like this, all those people, all those relationships, all that love and lost love. It succeeds where so much art fails: that sweet, sweet, cathartic release.
and I did end up singing and recording it, much later, in St. Louis. It went on the early bindle, which nobody knew about, where nobody heard it, and that was all. Now with a little readership, maybe it’s time to bring it back. If this is a repeat for you, my friends, forgive me. And if you and I lived the reality of this together, please, also, forgive me.
Credit Dr. J. Oseph for the tip on the blackout Mountain Goats version. Further proof that scientists and artists are natural allies.