Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Change is slow and hope is violent"

Song Years

For years I lived in a kind
Of wistful song world where
One foot was always out

The door, almost like a sailor
Ready, anxious even, to decamp
Once more for the sea,

And always the American highway
And its great story calling, built by
The American restless and all

Its subsequent moving. Loosely
Around the seasons I moved
Looking for what I thought of

As a natural life, and looked back
At anyone who stayed put as if
They had given up,

Given up something
That should never be
Given up,
No sooner
Would I get some place

Than I'd begin
To check train schedules
And other venues of departure.

I hated the notion
Of insurance and never
Had any. I gave

Myself no place to fall.
I thought of all this as keeping
Myself clean, keeping

Myself honest. It really
Wasn't a variant
Of the old high school

Locker-room chant of find 'em,
Feel 'em, fuck 'em,
And forget 'em, I told myself,

But sometimes,
Especially when I was packing,
It surely felt that way.

I was always leaving one
For the next one. I wished them
Well and remained friends

With most of them. I hoped
A right one one would come along
For them, and they would be

More ready for their lasting lover
Given the lessons, good and bad,
We'd taught each other.

Fall would come
And I'd head north
For apple-picking, winter

Would find me holed up
In Vermont for a moment,
Working on some chilly construction,

And spring was always
A sure-fired scamper south.
Summer mostly meant

Going out west for, I suppose, hope.
Change is slow and hope is violent.
I wanted the speed and handling

Of a good sports car; I wanted
Things not as they should be
But things as they are.

Most songs are sad and most people
Do not want to live in song world,
Except when some loved one leaves

Or maybe over a drink, alone, at home,
Or perhaps in a car, ever more alone.
Someone is always falling or being thrown.

Most songs say
But one thing:
"My heart aches,"

And if you doubt this
Listen to the songs.
And tonight

Let us all together send out
Our love to the songwriters
For moving us.

I moved this way
Until the cruelty of it
Overwhelmed me.

-Liam Rector, from
{The Executive Director of the Fallen World}

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