Tag Archives: loss

The Hole Inside My Heart (a love letter to Chris Cornell)

When your voice leapt out of my car radio wailing Black Hole Sun and Outshined, I heard my heart outside my body, felt my young soul pushed tightly against a wall.

You were angry. I was angry.

Then I went on. And so did you.

Years later I went to a James Bond movie. I heard this warm cathedral of vocals that sounded thrilling, familiar. I turned to my boyfriend in the theater, “Who IS this?” 

“It’s Chris Cornell,” he said. And I was like, “The guy from Soundgarden??”

I never expected to see you again. To bump into you in this vast world of art and inspiration. But there you were, your insane voice leaping and caressing and exploding on the big screen along with those James Bond intro cartoon visuals. 

I could hear the age in your voice. I could hear the years I spent in Colorado and you with Audioslave. Your voice, while always gymnastic, had become expansive. I bathed in it like it was the one thing I’d been missing.

Then I went on. And so did you.

Years later at my son’s piano lesson, I picked up a guitar magazine in the waiting room. There you were on the cover in a jacket and boots with your curly hair. But softer, chiller. And in the article you spoke of your experience with loving music outside of the type that you became famous within. You spoke of admiring musicians like Cat Stevens and how sometimes your friends didn’t think that was cool. You made solo music anyway, you said. You toured with it. And, much to your surprise, people liked it.

How brave, I thought. How fucking courageous. I admired you more in that moment than any time you swirled your dark locks around like a rock n roll sex god.

So I bought some of your music. Finally. After 27 years. And I couldn’t stop listening to it. The soulful, delicate, approachable fairy tale of it.

I remember when River Phoenix died and people lit candles on the sidewalk. I remember the vigils for Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, Prince. I’ve never wanted to attend one until now.

I fell in love with you once, a long time ago. And then I fell in love with you again, just last year. You spoke to me in two different voices but one and the same. At 15 you said it’s okay to be angry. At 41 you said it’s okay to get older. Actually, you said, it’s good and can be done gracefully. Watch.

You don’t owe me anything, but I wish you had not left.

I miss you like family. 

There will always be a hole shaped like you inside my heart.

All my love and respect,