25 July 2013
I’m writing letters to friends, cutting things out of magazines, working with paper, listening to music. I’m listening to some Loudon Wainwright, mostly because I love Rufus Wainwright, but also because I wanted to know where he came from.
I came across the song “The Days That We Die,” and realized that the recording on youtube doesn’t include the spoken notes that come before the song:
On the basis of the way things are with my children,
I doubt that the length of the acquaintance necessarily makes it easier
for loved ones to know you better.
Or for you to know them.
The past keeps getting in the way.
My children are all grown now,
deep into the complications of their adult lives,
but where I am concerned, I bet the ghostly parent
of earlier Christmases keeps popping up for them
when my number is punched.
The old record complete with stored outrage and disappointment
comes up on the computer screen and a natural reserve,
a caution — built up for years — takes over.
And why shouldn’t it?
We share a big chunk of the past
and there were awful bumps.
I’ve gotten used to the fact that they have their own versions
of how things were. They’re entitled —
even if I recall some things differently.
No, it’s not that I want to set the record straight.
That could make matters worse.
But change is possible
and I’d like to begin work on some sort of
updated realigned model for our connection…
Something that will reflect not so much what we all were
or think we were
but what we have become.
It’s such a poem. Oh man. If you can try to find the full version of the song (it’s just over 4 minutes, on the album “Older Than My Old Man Now,” if that helps.) I would love to hear what you think of it.
Which leads me to one of your questions from a few days ago that I haven’t answered yet: I love listening to recordings of books and poems. I listen to lots of spoke word poetry, I listen to podcasts. I just like to listen to people talking.
Some links for you: