Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Bridge to Nowhere

The Bridge is a station on Sirius Satellite radio I listen to in my car.  They only play light rock songs from the 60s, 70s and early 80s, no commercials, a constant stream.  And that music casts a spell over days when I'm driving to appointments and meetings; I get to the point where I just let the whole thing take over, the music directing me and overseeing me the way a nurse takes over in an emergency room. 
You feel yourself lifted out of the situation and into some other place in your head.  Not nostalgia as much as convergence, back to a place when mushroom-lucious guitars and synths and melodies turn into yearning that you grab onto because there's nothing else that will do.  Just pure love and melancholia and desire, almost erotic, but then not, which makes it all the more romantic.  Very stupid in that beautiful way you want "beauty" and "stupid" to be, coexisting in a new world of shadow and sympathy and secret eating.
The Bridge is a bridge to nowhere.
It's always on the verge of a blizzard here.  Night-time, with a little bit of a cold, and windows showing that promise of a white-out in the darkness.  A radio is always playing.  You're listening because you want school to be closed.  Ambrosia's "How I Feel" comes on.  Anonymous male chorus, and a clinging creepy sense of harmony pulled together with studio push-buttons, a synthesizer separating the song from the voices, the feeling from the nerves.  "How I Feel" is kind of like the national anthem for unrequited love.  It's a declaration nobody wants to hear and yet it's just plain gorgeous, like a trip you take and you don't tell anybody and it becomes the go-to place when you want to clock out mentally.  You want "How I Feel" to be Number One with a bullet the minute it comes on. 

"Deacon Blues" by Steely Dan.  It's the end of the world and the beginning of another, all in one long sweet hymn.  The horns and saxophones seek you out and sit you down for a little lecture, blurring emotions into tones, and then the lyric, those epic lines from the chorus:  They have a name for the winners in the world...  I want a name when I lose...  Can misery get any better?  School is closed forever.  All blizzard, all the time.  Blankets and closed eyes and the sound of the furnace kicking on. 

And then Billy Joel sings:  Don't go changing to try and please me.  The throbbing electric piano in the beginning is like bipolar snow.  Joel's voice is strong but it loses itself in delicate schmaltz; he's having a Paul McCartney and Wings feverdream inside that lovely 1977 spaceship.  You want to take that song with you to work, hear it inside your heard while you're running dishes through the machine, bleach steam and people asking you to take out the trash, and there's that one thin little line of sad yearning.  I need to know that you will always be that someone special that you are...  A ballad that coats your nerve endings like a psychotropic medication.  You want the world to be as soft and sweet and dumb as that unrolling sentiment.   Your pupils dilate a little when you hear it; nobody should take shit like that so seriously.   

You look out the window with the radio playing.  Tree limbs struggle out of all that white.  Everything you're used to is trying to free itself from amnesia.  You like the feeling.  It's in the music too.  That Genesis song just came on, sudden hypnosis.  They keep repeating the same words, and the snow keeps falling.  Who are you following where?   Grim and epic like a funeral march but it's also a greeting card you can buy at the grocery store.  Words and music don't really meet each other; they roll through one another, like people walking into tunnels and tunnels sliding through hills.  Over and over, you following me, me following you, and it's just a piece of litter disappearing in the snow, but still you feel the need to retrieve it, memorize it, feel it for everything it's worth.  
Stay with me,
My love I hope you'll always be
Right here by my side if ever I need you
Oh my love

In your arms,
I feel so safe and so secure
Everyday is such a perfect day to spend
Alone with you

I will follow you will you follow me
All the days and nights that we know will be
I will stay with you will you stay with me
Just one single tear in each passing year

With the dark,
Oh I see so very clearly now
All my fears are drifting by me so slowly now
Fading away

I can say
The night is long but you are here
Close at hand, oh I'm better for the smile you give
And while I live

I will follow you will you follow me
All the days and nights that we know will be
I will stay with you will you stay with me
Just one single tear in each passing year there will be

I will follow you will you follow me
All the days and nights that we know will be
I will stay with you will you stay with me
Just one single tear in each passing year...