Friday, May 27, 2011

The Soundtrack Of A Day.

Today a woman of eighty said to me, " Everything is always changing. The world moves so fast. I am left behind."

Maybe it is just the way my soul is attenuated, maybe it was the frail if not fearful timbre of her voice, maybe it was all the recent end-of-the-world gum-flapping, but her words followed me as I worked. Their seed slowly seeping into my sub-conscious. My mind's radio re-tuned to the all-pop-dirges-all-the-time station. It played...

Miracle Legion - The Backyard

Think it was the hottest day of the year
Even still we started fires with the ember
Sweetest Sadie held on to her memories
the world was so big and I was so small
and your voice was always the loudest of all

Yesterday we cut down the apple tree
cracking wood made my little heart tremble
I wish I didn't have to try so hard
but little boys gotta lot to remember
the world was so big and I was so small
and your voice was always the loudest of all

I loved the days I spent with you
And I still have all you could offer
the backyard looks so empty now
then I think of her, I think of her
the world was so big and I was so small
and your voice was always the loudest...

The recent tribute album to Mark Mulcahy, Miracle Legion's front-man, to help with the expenses after his wife's death. I cannot hear this song with out thinking of her. Something, some melancholy twinge in all his songs predicted the sorrow of her death. Dinosaur Jr. covers "The Backyard" on the album.

Track two was The Weepies "World Spins Madly On"...

Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
I thought of you and where you'd gone
and let the world spin madly on
Everything that I said I'd do
Like make the world brand new
And take the time for you
I just got lost and slept right through the dawn
And the world spins madly on...

...The night is here and the day is gone
And the world spins madly on

Deb Talan and Steve Tannen are The Weepies. Their music has been described as "subtly intoxicating folk-pop".

When I was younger it was a doe-eyed sense of adventure that pulled me from between the sheets each new morning, and as I became aware of the suffering of the world it was the inner rage to right the wrongs of injustice. But some-days the dull grind of disappointment creeps in. The world spins along at this break neck speed and all our best intentions fly right off, spinning into infinity.

Then a down tempo country-fried version of R.E.M.'s "You Are The Everything" by the band Redbird played in the little radio in my head ...

Sometimes I feel like I can't even sing
I'm very scared for this world
I'm very scared for me
Eviscerate your memory
Here's a scene
You're in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine
All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn't end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you've ever seen
And they're there for you
For you alone you are the everything
I think about this world a lot and I cry
I've seen the films and the eyes...

R.E.M circa 1980 something...

Later, after work, the weight of it all. The helplessness at not being able to stop the onslaught of injustice, the every-always feeling of futility that finally reaches its terminal velocity. I drove around for an hour, mind reeling, heart crushing, speaking, then screaming my mantra into the dirty little temple of my jeep. "It's not OK. It's not OK!!" Over and over and over again. The days headlines like a ticker tape in my minds eye. My thoughts turning over and over again to the children being brutalized, to the chasm between the rich first world and the unimaginable poverty of countries like Zimbabwe where the average per capita income is 200 dollars a year, or the price of a North Face jacket, or a pair of Citizen's For Humanity jeans, or one of many Coach wallets.

There was just no consoling me, the darling Spirit tried, but I resisted. Why do I always resist? Perhaps it is wanting to own my discontent, to prove that I am worthy to bear the burden of another's sorrow?
Back to the couch where I crash these days. I tried to find sleep but instead found myself, or that is the ghost of myself, wandering through the halls of memory. Conversations with the skeletal remains of other former phantom selves, wanton little bastards, full of ambition and selfish pride. Not me anymore I muttered under my breath but there is no denying the common lineage. So I lay there, teeth-gritted-fist-clenched-eyes-watering-heart-sobbing. When I get like this I can't even pray.

All the while, for the first time today, my mind's radio is silent, except for a low hum, a faraway buzzing, and a sensation like the halo effect around a light in a fog. I put on some music. The only thing I can stomach is what suits my mood, depressed as hell. Radiohead's "Gagging Order" from the Com Lag album, "Exit Does Not Exist" a Modest Mouse cover by Sun Kil Moon, and The National's "About Today".

Mark Kozelek, formerly of Red House Painters, who now uses the moniker Sun Kil Moon

But it's like drowning on dry land. I try something less dark. The familiar favorites. Blitzen Trapper's "Wild Mountain Nation", "Crossing Muddy Water" by Counting Crows, The White Stripes "My Doorbell". All the songs that feel like flying. But I do not find my wings. The melancholy returns like a cancer. But not really like a cancer at all. Anymore than tinfoil is silver or a light bulb is the sun.

Jack and Meg White of the insurmountable White Stripes.

So I decide to put on some gospel. Try to decompress into His heart. Wrap myself in His tenderness and try to make sense of it all.

Mute Math's "You Are Mine"

Everyone has their obsession

Consuming thoughts, consuming time
They hold high their prized posession
That defines the meaning of their lives
You are mine
You are mine
You are mine, oh mine
You are mine
There are objects of affection
That can mesmerize the soul
There is always one addiction
That just cannot be controlled
You are mine
You are mine
You are mine, oh mine
You are mine

Mutemath, just plain raucous live.

John Mark McMillan's "How He Loves Us". When his voice breaks in the last verse my eyes swell up every time. This song as much as any, brings me back to the Father's heart.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.
So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way
That he loves us,
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves
Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died and You met me between my breaking
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony
...they want to tell me You're cruel
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause...[voice breaks]...
Cause He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves

John Mark McMillan performing his song "How He Loves". Many of the versions of the song change the lyric "sloppy wet kiss" to the sanitized "unforeseen kiss" robbing the line of it's power and intimacy.

And my heart's prayer tonight, from the David Crowder Band, "Deliver Me".

Deliver me out of the sadness
Deliver me from all the madness
Deliver me courage to guide me
Deliver me Your strength inside me
All of my life
I've been in hiding
Wishing there was someone just like You
Now that You're here
Now that I've found You
I know that You're the One to pull me through
Deliver me loving and caring
Deliver me giving and sharing
Deliver me this cross that I'm bearing
Oh, deliver me
Jesus, Jesus how I trust You
How I've proved You over and over
Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus
Deliver me
Come and pull me through
Come pull me through

On most days I am so thankful that in this big world of screaming chaos Your voice cuts through Jesus, the still small voice of Your Spirit. And in a world that is spinning madly on out of control You are unchanging, You are permanence, the rock on which I stand. And when I am sad for this world, when I am sad for me
, You are my joy, You are my rest. Your love is the song of my heart, the soundtrack of my days. But on a day like today, when it all gets a little much...

Sing over your child Father. Sing over us all. Sing, for our hearts are broken. Sing. For we have lost our way.

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