Poetry Response: “Gravity” for Andrea

Our teacher had us read Fontes’ First Confession and dedicate a song to a character from the book. I dedicated Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” to Andrea, the feisty and worldly protagonist, and her relationship with her childhood friend and love, Victor.

“Gravity” by Sara Bareilles

Something always brings me back to you
Never takes too long
No matter what I say or do
I’ll still feel you here ’til the moment I’m gone
You hold me without touch
You keep me without chains
I never wanted anything so much
Than to drown in your love and not feel your rain
Set me free
Leave me be
I don’t wanna fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am
I stand
So tall
Just the way I’m supposed to be
But you’re onto me and all over me
You love me ’cause I’m fragile
When I thought that I was strong
But you touched me for a little while
And all my fragile strength is gone
Set me free
Leave me be
I don’t wanna fall another moment into your gravity
Here I am
I stand
So tall
Just the way I’m supposed to be
But you’re onto me and all over me
I live here on my knees
As I try to make you see
That everything I think I need
Here on the ground
You’re neither friend nor for
Though I can’t seem to let you go
One thing I still know is that you’re keeping me down
You’re onto me onto me and all over
Something always brings me back to you
Never takes too long
————————————————————-

As I read Fontes’ First Confession, the Andrea’s decision to burn every memoriam of her relationship with Victor in the final chapter evoked Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.” The weary tone, the play on words throughout “Gravity” captures the intimacy between Andrea and Victor and the personality of Andrea as a young girl.

Bareilles sings “Hold me without touch, keep me without chains.” These paradoxical lyrics imply that the singer’s heart, not the accused subject himself, keeps her tied to the subject. Although only children, Andrea develops a similar tie to Victor throughout their tumultuous summer. He confesses their crimes to the priest, she forgives him. His mother shuts him in, she knocks on his door anyways. Later in her adulthood Andrea admits her love for Victor in open-hearted letters, as she “lives here on [her] knees.” Even after she moves away, her spirit and thoughts still gravitate towards him. After his death, she frees herself, burning every item related to their relationship, including most of her belongings and her store. Therefore, the lyrics mirror Andrea’s dependence on Victor in both her childhood and adulthood.

The lyrics from “You love me ’cause I’m fragile” to “And all my fragile strength is gone” also reflect the personalities of the two children. Just like the subject to the singer, Victor was self-righteous and his ceremonial kiss represented his demonstrative but condescending affections towards Andrea. Although Andrea puts on a tough exterior, she crumbles the moment Victor starts crying and all her “fragile strength” disappears. Therefore, these verses sing a similar mixture of Andrea’s mustered strength and admitted weakness.

Just as Andrea’s relationship with Victor was both tiring and loving, Bareilles’ uses poetic paradoxes to convey her conflicting feelings of love and contempt. The metaphor of gravity, the force that keeps heaven from earth, evokes the personalities and fates of the two children — one taken by the earth, the other by heaven.

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