Monday, June 29, 2009

I've tried in my way to be free

It remains highly comforting to us. And that’s finally all anyone wants out of a song – to be comforted.

I have a problem sleeping until the weird object hanging in my room says 3 ‘o clock. I have tried everything - everything possible to drift into slumber much before the clock strikes three. But in the end, only irritation prevails.

And in that space of irritation, music sedates me in a philosophical manner, evoking deep rooted emotions while connecting me to my inner being on an infinite number of levels. From the depths of depression to the splendid high of life, the precise nature of that musical pleasure at that particular moment eludes everything else.

So, I actually enjoy lying in the dark midway between half asleep and half awake. Perhaps, trying to get to know myself better so as to anticipate what kind of music I prefer when swinging between moods. Or perhaps, I enjoy gliding to a lesser horrible world.

“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world,” a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist – Leonard Cohen once said.

Whether that is my last refuge, I have yet to find out. But, what I’ve found out, restless in the dark, with the earphones plugged deep into my ears is that, the man’s music relaxes me, better than any tranquilizer. Listening to him, everything around me seems to be invisible – even the clock on the wall. Listening to him, I float into a diverse world.

And as he sings Dear Heather, I fight sleep to be transformed into a different place, by the sea, taking a stroll with the woman I love. Every word is just perfect along with the setting in my mind.

Dear Heather

Please walk by me again

With a drink in your hand

And your legs all white

From the winter

Though, the woman and the setting is always the same, the song evokes greater depths of mystery and meaning each time I listen to it. It is like she waits for me by the shore, with her skirt flying, every evening. Sometimes for days on end, to continue from where we parted. And every time I reappear, she greets me either smiling or sad.

I wonder, if it takes a ceiling with a curious shade of dingy yellow, a bed by the wall, with a clock dangling somewhere above in the darkness, for the sometimes silly feeling to arise.

Whatever the conclusion, at that moment, it really doesn’t matter. Instead, I imagine how elusive answers can be to the vexing questions that surround us as I listen to Bird on a Wire.

Like a bird on a wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free…

I have torn everyone who reached out for me...

I begin to think of people - the religious to the elite, and the vagabonds to the fallen. The song goes on and on, always the same, and yet the longer I listen the harder I find my thoughts roving.

To be able to get inside the song, to be drawn into the loop of its repetitions, is most likely a place where one can fade away.

Far more numerous are those with nothing to do and nowhere to go. The drunks and the devastated, clothed in rags, bruised and bleeding – they seem to be everywhere. There are the ones who talk to themselves, who tell themselves stories as if to someone else. There are the women with their shopping bags and men with their empty wallets, moving their possessions from place to place, as if it mattered.

Sometimes, they come to a decision about things without even realizing that they have. Sometimes, without even knowing it, the answers to their questions are right there, staring them in the face. Still, most of them spend their entire lives waiting for the sign not realizing that life will slowly pass them by. Pondering and probing deeper, the world seems a mixture of the brutal and gorgeous – for the moment.

Thinking of people in a state of delirium, it seems that they will always be happy in a place where they are not. Perhaps, I too will be happier elsewhere. Suddenly, I think of Samuel Beckett. His books I have enjoyed reading and some lines from them, have become a part of me, just like Cohen’s songs.

For in me there have always been two fools amongst others. One asking nothing better than to stay where he is and the other imagining that life might be slightly less horrible a little further on.”

I want to carry on with my thoughts about life, about people, about solutions, about religion, about far away places. But, I drift back to the woman waiting for me. The moist air around her soft, almost sweet, I want to tell her that I’m her Man. Only, this time, I want to do so without fighting sleep.

…I’d crawl to you baby

And I’d fall at your feet

And I’d howl at your beauty

Like a dog in heat

And I’d claw at your heart

And I’d tear at your sheet

I’d say please, please

I’m your man…


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