Tower of Song #2: Blue, blue windows behind the stars

I feel more alive tonight than I have all week. The past few days have involved a lot of napping interspersed with bleary-eyed television hypnosis, since the tiredness I felt earlier in the week turned out to be the flu. Watching the Waxman hearing today, I began to feel somewhat better, but wrote it off to excitement at the spectacle.

Two weeks from tonight, I’ll be in New Orleans. At a crawfish boil, “just downriver from Elysian Fields,” with real faces for friends who are tonight still just online names.

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday. We are not close. Not currently, anyway. There has always been a lot of space between us, ten years apart in age. I was still in elementary school when she went to college. She turned me on to a lot of music, stuff the other fifth graders certainly were not hip to. I know my first awareness ever of Dylan was at a big family dinner, bigger than usual because she was home from school. She was angry and tearful because he had just had his motorcycle wreck and my father had made light of it, the gist of his remark basically, “Who gives a rat’s ass?” Knowing him, he may have said those exact words, I don’t remember but I do remember the argument and that, of course, they eventually got around to Viet Nam and LBJ and then things really went to hell, and that I thought my big sister was awesome and sensitive and brave in the face of my father’s cruel indifference. I was young enough that it was pretty much all a black or white, good vs. evil scenario.

She’s a Republican now, on her third marriage, with a picture of Reagan taped to the refrigerator door in the giant kitchen of her perfect house in Tom Delay’s old district. We’ve had more than one estrangement. I was the one who broke things off this time. She’s been emailing me since she found out that Mrs. Tex and I parted ways. I’ve answered a couple but haven’t kept up.

I know I will call her, I know that I want to, but very idea of the negotiation is exhausting. There’s the money I owe her for our mother’s gravestone, there’s the explication of the breakup that she’ll want, and there’s the politics. We always try to steer clear of it but one of us always weakens and then it’s off to the races.

I thought of her today as I watched Waxman, remembering the Watergate hearings, some of which we watched together. Our parents had let me travel by bus to stay with her for a few days. She and husband #2 were in a claustrophobic starter home, full of drunken and stoned friends whom I found to be the epitome of sophistication. Pretty much a fly on the wall, I took in every bead and feather of their puka-shelled elan, not grasping most of the gleeful sarcasm and rapidfire commentary at the proceedings on the television. But later on that night, as husband #2 and the nextdoor neighbor reverently smoked their way through Willie Nelson’s Phases and Stages, expounding and pontificating on its greatness, I grew desperately bored: who wanted to listen to some shit-kicker sing about divorce anyway?

And if guilty’s the question
Truth is the answer
I’ve been lyin’ to me all alone
There ain’t nothin’ worth savin’
Except one another
And before you’ll wake up
I’ll be gone

Up here in the hills tonight, it’s crisp and chilly. A front blew in overnight last night and if current predictions hold, the Canadian air pushing southward will keep it cool all week long. Except for our lack of moon, tonight’s sky is not at all unlike the tiny icon in the online graphical forecast. Pixellated stars spray across the black, one word underneath: Clear.

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2 Responses

  1. Your post and the Neil Young music clip inspired me to listen to my old LPs by The Band. Sometimes I forget how wonderful some music is, and how music kindles memory…thanks for the reminder.

  2. You are most welcome

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