He’s my musical Hemingway; my poetry Pollack. He’s the thing that separates me; the thing that defies me, denies me, and I don’t get it. And that makes me deficient, somehow. I should smoke more weed and then I’d see. I should reread, relisten, resee and then I’d understand and then I’d be a man. It’s not my epithet but things I roll my eyes at. Someone who denies home and family and place when that denial is what defines them. I don’t buy any of it. And I don’t think he does, either.
But in an effort to dip my tin cup in the same cool spring that my love drinks from, I am trying to find a common ground, a common space. A place where we can meet, even if I have to be looking through a tiny window into the house of his appreciation. At least I will know: this is where the filler words fit in. Where the “Well’s” and the “Yes and’s” and the “Oh’s” originate.
Is it the simplicity of the early lines? The easy rhymes, the expected verbs? The accessibility and “Yeah, man. I know what you’re talking about” of it all? The rambling in a voice not his own? Are these things now too ingrained in the culture that I can’t wade through what has become cliché? The ABCBCBD of it all. I’m always one to balk at the obvious. The “Come gather round” troubadour and the self referential “This song is” ploys. I like the internal rhymes, the tumble of assonance and alliteration that trips over the tongue. The title “Motorpsycho Nightmare” makes me happy, but the story does not hold me. I think I like “Tangled up in Blue”, but maybe that’s because he talks about a redhead. I might have a dance with “Just like a Woman,” but he’d have to not sing it. “Wedding Song”? Really? I’ guess I need to hear it. “All Along the Watchtower” is Jimi Hendrix for me. “Shelter from the Storm” can come in for a cup of tea. But I’m too tired to read anymore. There isn’t enough of a return for me.
The problem could be that I dealt with people who remind me of his projected persona. Of the “I” in the songs. People, hell: men. Dealt with, geezuz: I tried to be with them. That detached you-will-never-really-know-me is attractive for some reason to girls in their twenties, and then it becomes a habit that is hard to break. We don’t know it’s because they don’t know themselves. We don’t know it’s not an aloof self confidence; it’s the opposite. We figure if we can be the one who breaks through, then we can win. You don’t have to be anyone, just be unattainable. And my 25-year old brain in this 35-year-old woman—this 35-year-old woman who finally clipped the dark wings of expectation and landed firmly on the ground where you, love, were waiting—that 25-year-old brain remembers the patterns and worries that if you love the music, you might be like the man. You might be like the other men. Luckily the 35-year-old knows better. And usually, it is the 35-year-old who gets control of the heart and the mouth that voices its deepest desires.
I love you, but “Don’t Think Twice” will always piss me off.