It's always raining in my songs. When I love someone there is always rain-- blessing the moments, slurring the shadows. Wet nights feel safe. There is nothing more to wait for, to dread. The endings... they have moved in. All those blues songs...the Sky is Crying... etc. My very first poem was titled 'I only love you when it rains'... even then... it felt like a cliche. It was. But all these years later--- less so.
Among the paper scraps where I jot down inspirations, thoughts, during the day-- one I found last night-- it was a list... more than a year old-- maybe 2 or 3--for a clueless schmuck I'd been dating: one of those guys who sweeps you off your feet, calls you Baby, breathes in your ear as he whispers things you can't quite hear in dark clubs, plays like an angel, fucks like an animal. But the list--- it was so pathetically sad--- a list of things I needed to talk about--- as though the guy cared about anything that wasn't in his pants or mine...
It sat by the phone, that list... for maybe a year--- a year when it was unravelling--- when the only 'intimacy' (one of the items) I had was listening to his version of whatever it is men think you want to hear while we lay in a dark room, me adding things to the list... knowing better than when I was 20 that the exit is best without dialogue... that it had all become a monologue with me making vague disconnected responses, that the guy never noticed, had never listened (another item), even during the 'Birthday Sex' episode (another item). That despite his melodramatic 'attentions' and chestbeating and solos 'just for you, baby', that it was all just 'content' for another memory, maybe another song... another bird for whom I left the cage door open, waiting for the sigh, the shadow and the rain.
So today I came across the list at the bottom of a box in which I keep unfinished songs-- things I write when I lose people--- things written with pain (rhymes with....) in dark rooms with sometimes illegible scrawl-- which is part of the recovery... not being able to decipher words-- the way you miss things in life, and it is too late to ask--- 'what was that you said to me when...?' And if you did, it would no longer be true, or it never was, or it is gone like everything is gone, no matter how painful or happy. You heal, or you do not heal. You miss the perfect moments, you do not miss the terrible ones--- but there they all are, in one of these boxes--- written or unwritten, sung or not sung.
The list was so cliche'd and juvenile-- like something one of my son's exasperated girlfriends might have written--- or my niece (I have a post-it souvenir I leave by my kitchen phone with a number she deleted from her phone (just in case) and an arrow and the words ''---'s asshole ex non-boyfriend"). So teenaged and so perfect. Like my own personal Tracey Emin. My niece doesn't know who Tracey Emin is. Nor did my list-guy. In fact, in a few more years, I might not even know who the list-guy was.
Do you ever think people are faking their memories? The way that girl used to tell me all about her relationship with Bob Dylan and I knew she was lying... but it was funny, or pathetic... the way my list was pathetic... because so often we breathe meaning into these moments. Like you are walking down the street--- and a cab stops, and you answer--I want to go somewhere taxis don't. But it is just a cab, and you didn't really say that, and the list-guy--his solos weren't soulful, they were just coming out of his auto-pilot musical repertoire which was not familiar to you and after a few nights you started to hear them again and realized the guy is a fraud.
But he isn't a fraud. It is you. Or me--- who is expecting some revelation--- like a poem I have never seen which is amazing, and then I look at the others, and they dilute that one until you put the book back and that is that. Is life disappointing? It is our own failure to turn over the card and find something extra-terrestrial or ultra-nuclear... and maybe there was only that one love for me--- the one who died, so the dream never does-- the hero who never got old, the face that shined, the passion that was perfect, the loss that taught me everything about loving the rain, because he was the rain-- -the dark, and the wet and the hidden, the technicolor underside of my skin.
There is a girl beside me in this cafe, reading a book called 'The Inheritance of Loss'. We hold onto our losses because they are really the only lessons we have learned, the reverse blessings we do not comprehend, the best and the worst. And no matter how many times we think we are winning, we will lose-- -all of us. We are all lost, with our GPS's and our perpetual instant instructions and ubiquitous internet connections. Loss is our great common denominator-- our guardian angel, our past and future.
So we learn to love the rain... the B-side, the thing that 'isn't'--not the pretentious loneliness and ravenous despair of histrionic poets and socio-analysts of loss but the simple imprint, the wet shadows of missing angels-- and we learn to love the empty room with the ghost windows which in damp quiet with the perpetual virtual soundtrack of everything I have ever heard tells me everything I need to know.