American Pentimento

(in progress)

 

                       Dark Moon


His words are to fathom,

He seeks a kind of dark perfection.

He roots for the random,         

Right or wrong, weak or strong.   

He hints at salvation,

A kind of bland but sweet confection. 

A due dispensation:

“Say ‘yes’ and I will happen to you,

Under a dark moon

And we’ll wail away on some dive-bar stage.   

In a dark room,

We’ll find a splintered haze and a spark.”


At first she strays, but then she stays;

She has her own kind of sense inside her.

She goes her own way,

Right and wrong, weak and strong.

She works random laughter,

Like hot wine that sparks inside her.

She finds her own way,

Right and wrong, right and wrong. 

Under a dark moon

Where we’ll wail away on some dive-bar stage,

And we’ll wander  

Through the wonders of our mangled song. 


    At work he often passes his time making a list of things to wish for: a little more space to set up his drums, a little more free time, maybe a little less self-loathing.  But this is it. These are his imaginable wishes.

    He works for an insulation outfit where dozens of times per hour and hundreds of times per evening he calls the owners of homes, half-hoping that they won’t pick up, but when they do he greets them in a manner calculated to inspire their confidence and trust.  And he says to them, “Hey, tomorrow we’ll be out on your block and we can inspect your insulation for free. There’s no obligation, it’s perfectly free.”    

     Typically this is where they hang up, and come the end of his shift, he often leaves without having produced a single promising lead. But what’s worse is when someone turns it around on him, like the woman with the truly sweet voice asking him, “Michael, aren’t you ashamed of being such a loser, interrupting hard-working people at home with your bogus offers, when all you’re really doing is reciting some sales pitch?”

    Something’s been lost, something’s broken.  This morning there was blood in one of his eggs.  Surely nothing is pure, and even the dreams of a puppy will grow into a cancer if he’s been beaten enough, especially when he knows that he’s done it all.

Something’s been betrayed,

Something’s been defiled,

Something’s been taken down!


We’ll find our own way.

Till the histories are set down,

And our bones are white from sun washing,

We’ll find our own way,

Right and wrong, right and wrong.

Under a Dark Moon,

And  we’ll sail safe through an umbrous gloam,

Into the long swoon,

And the wonders of our mangled tunes. 





         

                      Wait for Me (1978)


I haven’t written many love songs lately,

I haven’t had the time to try.

I spend my time singing old songs lately.

Something in them is missing in me,

But it’s not the way I’ve chosen to be.  

Wait for me.


I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes lately,

I haven’t had the heart to cry.

I’ve seen your face but I’ve looked right through you.

Something in you is missing in me,

But it’s not the way I’ve chosen to be.

Wait for me.


Children play,

Am I that different from them in any way?

On their way,

Will I be able to love another day?

Something in them is missing in me,

But it’s not the way I’ve chosen to be.

Wait for me.


You don’t see me,

But through the window I can see your face,

And for a moment it feels like I’m moving

But it’s the train, and I’m standing on the platform.

You’re on your way;

It’s the end of everything.

Something in them is missing in me,

But it’s not the way I’ve chosen to be.

Wait!


The train awakens, and you look forward.

And the train veers north

Toward other cities and other men.

I haven’t written many love songs lately,

I haven’t even tried.

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