SONG: Ribbon Bows by Joanna Newsom | ARTIST: Kyle Wayne Benson

Kyle Wayne Benson — This year I got my first tattoo. A dog on my left thigh, surrounded by my freckles and hair, pointing confidently toward a mole I should probably get checked out. So far the experience of having a tattoo hasn’t been overcast with regret the way I’d worried it might be. Maybe I’m the right personality for tattoos, but it’s more likely I’m the right personality for dog tattoos. Joanna Newsom gets what I mean. In Ribbon Bows from Have One On Me, she tells the story of finding a dog at the shelter and later she asks it whether god exists. She takes the question of divinity out of our hands and places it on the rag rug near the sink, near tennis ball and water bowl, drool and dander. There’s something Homewardboundian about turning to a cosmic furry eight ball with the hope they’ll explain the nature of life to us in a language we understand, from their higher, less cruel, vantage. Joanna encodes her longing in the household best friend, trusting her knowing, adoring dog to give the signal: will we be alright in the end?

All day, you're hassling me with trifles:
black nose of the dog, as cold as a rifle,
indicating, with a nudge,
God, No God. God, No God.
Sweet, appraising eye of the dog,
blink once if god,
twice if no god.

︎ Your pals, Seth & Titus | Permanent Records 2018 | Both Coasts, USA ︎