Wednesday, March 26, 2008

With Thanks to Bruce

I am sitting at Philadelphia International Airport. In fifteen minutes, I board a plane for Austin. I am, to put it mildly, looking forward to this, all former fear of flying gone. I am drinking a black and tan-- just one. I just left my father's funeral, a party I swore I would never in my life attend. On the other hand, I did not dance on his grave, as I certainly swore I would. And so, I guess you never know.

Anyway, they are playing absolute shit for music but somewhere, somehow, into the mix comes Bruce Springsteen singing I Came for You. If anything saved me from my Jersey youth and inspired me to get out, it was Bruce.

I will write more about the "event" soon. I did not do so earlier in the week for reasons I will also explain. For now, they lyrics to I Came for You:

For You

Princess cards she sends me with her regards
Barroom eyes shine vacancy, to see her you gotta look hard
Wounded deep in battle, I stand stuffed like some soldier undaunted
To her cheshire smile. I’ll stand on file, she’s all I ever wanted
But you let your blue walls get in the way of these facts
Honey, get your carpetbaggers off my back
You wouldn’t even give me time to cover my tracks
You said "here’s your mirror and your ball and jacks"
But they’re not what I came for, and I’m sure you see that too
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long
And your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free

Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
Reveal yourself all now to me girl while you’ve got the strength to speak
`cause they’re waiting for you at bellevue with their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now if only you could ask
And don’t call for your surgeon even he says it’s too late
It’s not your lungs this time, it’s your heart that holds your fate
Don’t give me money, honey, I don’t want it back
You and your pony face and your union jack
Well take your local joker and teach him how to act
I swear I was never that way even when I really cracked
Didn’t you think I knew that you were born with the power of a locomotive
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?
And your chelsea suicide with no apparent motive
You could laugh and cry in a single sound

And your strength is devastating in the face of all these odds
Remember how I kept you waiting when it was my turn to be the god?

You were not quite half so proud when I found you broken on the beach
Remember how I poured salt on your tongue and hung just out of reach
And the band they played the homecoming theme as I caressed your cheek
They ragged, jagged melody she still clings to me like a leach
But that medal you wore on your chest always got in the way
Like a little girl with a trophy so soft to buy her way
We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar
Of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore
So you, left to find a better reason than the one we were living for
And it’s not that nursery mouth I came back for
It’s not the way you’re stretched out on the floor
`cause I’ve broken all your windows and I’ve rammed through all your doors
And who am I to ask you to lick my sores? and you should know that’s true
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but you did not need my urgency
I came for you, for you, I came for you, but your life was one long
And your cloud line urges me, and my electric surges free


Anonymous said...

'For You,' Lawrence Kirsch's mammoth hardcover collection of Springsteen stories from the rock troubadour's most devoted fans, is not a well-written book in the traditional sense. Some of the accounts meander along for a while before just sputtering out, or seem to exist only for the purpose of imparting Too Much Information — there are some things even your fellow Springsteen junkies don't need to know, like which Bruce album was playing during your first sexual experience. That's just icky.
But somehow, those less polished pieces add to the book's charm — and taken together with some of more insightful entries they help form what, in the end, turns out to be one of the most fascinating and moving books I've ever read.

In reading "For You," at first it's hard to believe that one performer could possibly have touched this many people this deeply — lifted them from depression, kept them from suicide, helped them through divorce or the death of a parent, or worse, a child. But story after story reveals just how much Springsteen's music and his almost superhuman presence on the concert stage have penetrated people's lives and, in as much as it is possible for music to do so, made them whole.

In fact, there's a running theme of these reminiscences, one that is sure to warm any Bruce fan's heart: that you are not crazy. Not crazy for seeing dozens or even hundreds of concerts; not crazy for feeling that Springsteen's songs and lyrics have actually helped carry you through some of life's toughest moments; not crazy to think that this man whom you've never met has and continues to fill some kind of void in your life.

Spike Gillespie said...

wow, thank you for that. i never heard of the book. i'll get it.