I want to look at myself in five years
and be gratified.
Now you know the perversity of the situation.
Dan Magers does not make it easy to review PARTYKNIFE. But I’m not sure if it’s because it leaves me wanting to make sure his character (and yes, I said “character” because we cannot assume Magers is writing about himself) is okay, or that I’m okay, or because of the bottle of Bushmills 1608 that is keeping me company as I read through experiences that might as well be my own.
PARTYKNIFE (the name of our main character’s band) takes us through two sides of a mixtape. On Side A, we get our intense love-hate for the world we’ve created, our parties, our want to forget everything in fragments, and our love interests – Cecilia, the smart girl we want, but aren’t sure we can get; Tamaki, the girl we kind of stole, but toys with us, rejects us. It’s a beautifully tragic love story. One that makes you feel guilty for having done all the same things when you were younger – at least it makes me feel that way.
Magers does, however, remind us that we are responsible for our own lives, and that we are also in charge of how we re-tell them:
Private life is constructed,
but some constructed things are nice,
like houses. You build a table to make it easier
to eat off.
Unfortunately, he also reminds us of the immense pain that can come from the lives we might choose:
I don’t know how to be someone you miss.
Side B reminds me that eventually the party has to end. Eventually all guys lose the girl who was constantly rejecting him, but who wasn’t really wanted in the first place. Eventually, we get to thank our own version of Cecilia for “making out with me,” walk away from anxiety riddled three-ways (however that metaphor – or non-metaphor – works for you), and grow up. We learn that some “friends” were just copies:
I just say it’s awesome.
And then my friends say it’s awesome
and we start the School of Awesome.
My wisdom has made me a sage among my peers.
We learn that sometimes, we just have to wait it out:
The guy will always get the girl.
This unicorn shirt will outlast the irony.
When my mother dies, I will drape her in this unicorn shirt.
That we can’t always find ourselves in our own words, or in those people with whom we keep as company – even if momentary:
When I learned I can never articulate how I feel,
and that people present themselves
in the exact way I want to be,
that’s what I taught the world about shame.
But, most importantly, Magers teaches us that the things we do in life, or did when we were younger, are not things that we should regret. We did it to get where we were going, or where we got, or were we are now. Or at least, we did it because we found some wonderful friends, and it was a damn good story.
We were all in it trying to be famous, but what we ended with
were good friends and great memories,
and isn’t that what it’s all always about,
legs squeaking against vinyl
in the summer time
in the parking lot.
In someway or another, you have lived PARTYKNIFE. Dan Magers manages to remind us that we’ve all been there, and done that, and should live it up, come down from it, and write our story. And for that, I thank him.