Wooden Heart - Listener Analysis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjgBEzUm-B8 (lyric video)
This spoken word piece is about the human condition, and our corrupt nature. The ship refers to him, and the ocean is a metaphor for life. His fears, lies and nightmares (standard red devils and white ghosts) binding him, but they’re also the only thing keeping him together while the ocean “tosses him like leaves in this weather.” His dreams are sails, and they point him to his hopes and dreams in life. He says he built his own heart out of wood, and placed it inside himself (the iron ship), as he sails through the struggles in life (blood red seas), and finds his place in life. He’s not letting the struggles in life (waves) destroy his hopes and dreams. He says he believes in both anchors and saviors a line apart, so I’m assuming they are synonymous. His life is falling apart, but he still believes in whatever anchor is in his life, while he’s “sinking”. When he says he is pulling the rotten wood out of his heart, he means he’s letting go of the emotional baggage in his heart, so he can pursue his dreams. “We are all made out of shipwrecks, every single bouard washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores” That line is saying that we are all the person we are today because of our mistakes, and we’re all barely making it through life by ourselves. At this point in the poem, he starts referring to a community making it through together, rather than sailing through life just by himself. The line “we only have what we remember”, that repeats several times throughout the poem, states that if we didn’t have what we remember, we would just repeat the mistakes that we made in our past. “I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it.” this line is basically repeating the very first line of the poem: “We’re all born to broken people on their most honest day of living.”
The author continues to refer to a community, instead of himself at this point. “But my fear is this prison… that I keep locked below the main deck” here he’s stating that he locks his fear inside, where nobody can see it. “and my hopes are weapons that I’m still learning how to use right, but they’re heavy and I’m awkward...” the concept of holding on to hope is so foreign to him, when he finally finds it in him to pursue his hopes, he doesn’t know how to deal with it. So he scraps the emotional baggage and gives himself a new heart, hoping it will help him get through the obstacles that life has been throwing at him, even if it is just a few more wrecks. But, he’s used to it. He is made by his mistakes (I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea.)
He says again that he’s not in this alone, that everyone needs to be fighting through life together. “My throat, it still tastes like house fire and salt water” He’s been drowning in life, and still feels it. “If we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together, and not just some fools rushing to die in our sleep” they need to go through this together, because they can’t do this alone. “All these machines will rust I promise, but we’ll still be electric, shocking each other back to life.” Waves can take down a ship, but water can’t destroy electricity. Their ship may sink, but if they’re electric, they can live through the storm. “Because our church is made out of shipwrecks, from every hull these rocks have claimed.” A church is a congregation. A place where you can find other people to hold on to, and do life with.