Monday, January 25, 2016

Homeward Bound

"I received this long, handwritten letter from a guy who lived on some island in South Carolina. I remember it was like this long catharsis, flashbacks of his life in song, my songs. He went through every concert he attended, starting with one he went to with his first date ever while in high school in 1966 at the University of Detroit. Artie and I still remember that gig, it was one of our first big venue college concerts and we were scared shitless. When the curtain opened and we saw a full house, Artie and I knew something had changed for us, we were real singers now and that too scared us shitless. This guy wrote about how we was on his first real date and how by the end of the concert, he said that, "she had fallen in love with me...or maybe it was you.," But it didn't matter to him, he wrote something like, "it was close enough." To know you have that kind of effect on people, while it is flattering, it's something I never intended. I'm just a songwriter, a singer playing my songs and all I ever cared about back then was entertaining. He went on about the songs that he said affected his life, something I hear a lot. Then he ended with remembering the last concert he went to, in Atlanta in the late 80s. It was at another college venue, Georgia Tech. Artie and I had both gone solo back then, maybe for at least 20 years. I think it was on our first Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. This guy's father had died a few weeks earlier and he wrote about how he just lost it when we did Homeward Bound, one of the encores on those reunion tours. His words, his intense emotion, he took me back to my youth, my mom and dad. He touched me. I thought to myself, "We're even." - Paul Simon, Interview in The New Yorker, 2003.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

I saw you

I saw you
When you were not looking
Searching my eyes
As I have so often searched in yours.

Empty gazes
Sad and lost
In the fading light
Of our last goodbye.

Times remembered
Endless affection
Now your touch
Forever gone.

Two memories
Ablaze in sorrow
Two hearts
Invincible no more.

I saw you
When you were not looking
Leaving me
As love fell from view.




Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Unbelievable Serendipity Of Love

I wish I had spent more time living than writing. More time happy, than sad. More time touching than looking, more time dancing than sitting, more time playing than sleeping, and more time in love, than out of love. The unbelievable serendipity of love, so easy to miss, so costly to lose.

Time leads, and then follows, it is relentless. They stream in and out of my sleep, breathing first with me, then against me. The faces, the names, the stories never change. The beginnings, the middles, the ends, never change. Paths cross, mingle, hold together, then break apart.

Reflections of the past, and every nuanced moment in love. In a distant forgotten time, lays an intimate beautiful life. I am holding her soft and perfect hand. My eyes open and there is a waterfall, the spectacle of water cascading, letting go, and then finding its way. It flows on melancholy, unbroken and determined, chasing sirens into the sea.

The unbelievable serendipity of love; so easy to miss, so costly to lose.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dylan in Love


Sara, Sara
It’s all so clear, I could never forget
Sara, Sara
Lovin’ you is the one thing I’ll never regret.
On November 22, 1965, Bob Dylan and Sara Lownds were married. It was a very private ceremony, taking place on the lawn of a judge in Long Island; not even Bob's parents knew. Bob and Sara moved up to a beautiful home in Woodstock, New York. On January 6, 1966, Bob and Sara became the parents of a son, Jesse Byron Dylan. After his infamous motorcycle crash that year, Dylan lived the rest of the 60s in seclusion, caring for his adopted daughter Maria, and his four children, Jesse, Anna, Sam, and finally Jakob, who was born in 1972. Friends say that they never have seen Bob happier than during these years. "He just loved being with Sara and the kids. He was a wonderful father, and he loved having the role of 'dad'. And he and Sara couldn't have been more in love" says photographer Elliot Landy, who met Dylan in 1967. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tangled Up In Dylan

On April 12, 2015, sitting in the Altria Theatre in Richmond, Virgina, my two daughters on either side of me, I watched the greatest voice of a generation for what will most likely be the last time. Almost exactly 40 years ago, in the Beacon Theatre in Boston, I was seven rows from Bob Dylan, watching him for the first time. In-between those two concerts, he and I have lived most of our lifetimes.

Nothing stays the same, it's part of the price of admission to this thing called life. At 73, Dylan comes off as an aged shadow of his former self. At 65, I sit in wonder and respect for a man whose love of his craft has outlived his voice and energy as a performer. Would I pay $77 to sit in the same room as this man for two hours? You bet I would. He can hum and I would be just in awe. (On some of his songs, he should have hummed.)

I have two epiphanies about Dylan and his body of work. First, one of his most popular hits," Mr. Tamborine Man," is a beautiful song about death. As a young man in his early 20's Dylan contemplates his own mortality in a way that only he and I understand. A bond between two strangers, although it's inconceivable that this man could be a stranger in light of how well he understands my heart, and has touched my soul.

The second epiphany is that Tangled Up In Blue is a love song, not about two lovers, but about all of the loves of our life, every damn one of them described by every word and image in the song. It is from this perspective, as you listen to the song over and over again, that a recognition takes hold: Tangled Up In Blue is the preeminent love song of our (children of the 60's) generation.

As a testament to his age, his fatigue, the weariness of Dylan's never ending tour, he is a stanza into Tangled Up In Blue before the audience of 4,000 even realizes that he is singing it. The reaction, and the realization of just how powerful this song is to those of us who have lived that life, one of love, regret and of longing, is that Dylan gets a standing ovation mid-song. Even he had to understand for that one moment just how powerful a poet, folksinger, and in way, mentor that he has been to us.

Songs impact us in different ways, and just as we live our lives along our own imperfect paths, not all songs effect us in the same way. Mr. Tamborine Man and Tangled Up in Blue are just nice songs to some, incoherent rhymes to others, or piercing revelations of love and death to others. It is in this latter circle of aging hippies that I belong and the epiphany of it all is that he wrote these two masterpieces from deep inside of me. How he got there is the story of his greatness.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Gelato Wars

I brought home a container of Italian gelato last weekend, a very unusual purchase for me. I don't do well with temptation, but if it matters at all I bought it at Whole Foods, so its healthy, right? The first time was exquisite. Something called Salt Caramel Swirl that based on the orgasm, is the new porn.

The problem arose later that night. I was tucked in, had shut off the TV, was looking for some music on my iPhone for a little un-stimulation into sleep, when Ms. Salt Caramel Swirl came calling. I like exotic forms of sugar as much as the next guy, and just because of that I purposely do not bring them home for consumption. Yet there she was, sweet caramel gelato, creamy silk vanilla, so touchable and with arrogant blonde and caramel streaks, so alone in the cold, calling me out. I unleashed the hounds.

[Here's a tip: Do not walk out of the kitchen with a spoon and an open container of Salt Caramel Gelato. You will return in a sugar rush from a time-warp, carrying only a very polished spoon.]

About a month after my last scorched relationship, I finally found some quiet, that rare and elusive state called tranquility. It had been five hideous years of an alternating current between passion and torment. Torment finally won out, having massacred all in its wake. Left alone in the corner was one life standing, the one that used to be me.

A month passed, then another, then maybe a few more. One single date seemed harmless, just like that impulsive purchase of gelato at Whole Foods; sweet, good for my mind, my balance, mix things up, keep some skin in the game. Only I forgot about that intoxicating spell cast by the sirens allure; lovely, soft gentle touches, soothing, melodious whispers on a pillow next to mine. I hear them now, out far in the distance so sweetly singing, while I sit here enchanted, just me and my spoon.

The gelato wars. So it begins.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pale Blue Dot

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Detroit, Detroit

Sweep up
I've been sweepin' up the tips I've made
I've been livin' on Gatorade
Plannin' my getaway
Detroit, Detroit got a hell of a hockey team
Got a left-handed way
Of makin' a man sign up on that automotive dream
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fifty-One Years Ago Today

Who killed the Kennedy's?
When after all, it was you and me.
-Mick Jagger
Can't let today go by without my small, humble remembrance. It was a day everything changed and don't ask me to explain, because if you were not there, you will never understand. If you were, there is nothing else to say. That we have let the questions go on so long without answers, it is our bad. The killers walk among us.

Every year, without fail, the president dies all over again. For a few days every autumn, the entire media is overwhelmed by those haunting photos from Dallas. Those cruelly happy and innocent pictures of a young president smiling and waving at bystanders, the first lady clutching a bouquet of roses. With their soft, prelapsarian colors, they seem to hail from another universe—one that has been stolen from us.

Perhaps it is that feeling of loss that explains the lingering sense of grief over John F. Kennedy’s assassination year after year, when the anniversaries of other, equally shocking events—from Pearl Harbor to 9/11—are generally quieter affairs. But there is also something unfinished about Kennedy’s death, a lingering suspicion that no one has ever been able to banish.

The real JFK mystery, 50 years later: Why the infamous murder must be reinvestigated