24 April 2006

nick drake - "time of no reply" (from the made to love magic lp, available for purchase here.)

hardy hears a listless breeze and think it's his wife's voice. nick drake thinks he hears someone sigh. both of them are wrong : it's their romantic imaginations. what they are actually met w/ is the reversal of "i keep it hid," sung from the point-of-view of the other, who now takes on the role of the subject. s/he needs someone to lean on, s/he's clearly dying--this is a real dark glasses situation. & yet that old love of theirs does nothing; anyone who had a heart would say something. of course, the subject is unaware that the other has their own inner turmoil : there is no omniscient narrator to provide both sides : it is as barthes has said, "only the other could write my love story." the subject finds his or herself subjected to mutisme, "no answer," silence.

one tries any number of means to provoke a response, his or her strategy--oh, let's not kid, his strategy is conducted on a number of fronts. numerous, not to mention outright embarrassing, emails, calls, texts, chat requests are made or sent. one is "desperately trying to seduce, to divert"; one imagines that through these efforts he is "lavishing treasures of ingenuity, but these treasure have produced only indifference." if only for an instant, one considers grabbing a ghetto blaster and, in cusackian fashion, playing worldbeat-influenced love songs outside the beloved's window.

one makes a phonecall and by some stroke of luck, the other answers. the contents of one's heart, and no small amount of radiation, emerge on the other end of the line and are met w/ silence; back on his end, the speaker hears the gentle hum of ambient noise and the barest hint of breathing. barthes and i both describe this as talking "in the void," yet on the telephone, especially on a cellular phone, it is more than that : it's like shouting into a well, hoping for an answer; if the connection is really bad, one also hears the echo of his own voice. unlike any other means of communication, one gets a sense of depth & space and an assurance of the presence of the other--which only makes it worse when there is no answer.

barthes' amorous subject would perhaps get v. worked up a/b this. however, speaking as an individual case, i know better. i know that when emotions run high, voices can go so low as to be near inaudible, as to sound like nothing but a listless breeze. there are many things i still don't know, but one thing i've never questioned is sincerity.

when emotions fall from dangerously-wertherian levels, one retreats and resigns himself. what is to be done, though, w/ all of the things that accumulate during the day? what is to be done w/ all that happens during the day that one would share w/ the other? such as : poems one enjoys ("the voice"); songs recently put on a mix for the other that are now being incongruously played on the mall's muzak system ("here's where the story ends"); email addresses twenty-one characters long (privacy, people, privacy); random facts (did you know that safecrackers sandpaper their fingertips b/c one feels nothing w/ their first layer of skin?); or occurrences (you know, i thought i saw you in the bank the other day).

well, one finds subtler, indirect means of communication. & through these subtler, indirect means, one has his way of knowing whether the other is listening : i look to the sky, like nick drake, and find my answer. (what he does not know, however, is how the other reacts to what she is hearing. but, if she returns again ... )

w/ all of this indecision, all of this silence, why does one persist? simply, b/c one day that might not just be a breeze i'm hearing; when i turn around, someone might actually be there.


jonas said...

With what you're writing right now, it is tough to make comments as an anonymous outsider, but be sure you're heard, read and felt.

fred said...

thank you, jonas. that someone is listening--nay, putting up w/ all of this, is greatly appreciated.

jon manyjars said...

Fred, you are on fire. You have nothing to apologize for. You may be indulging yourself this week, but your writing is far from self-indulgent.

I can only guess at the grief that is behind these thoughts of yours, but I am so glad that you're still writing about your passions for music and literature.

fred said...

jon, thank you v. much. but it's perhaps not true that i have nothing to apologize for--more on that w/ tonight's posting.

it is ironic, though, that i seem to be getting my best plaudits at such a time!