Friday, October 5, 2007
Bruce does a Bruce album
Pull quote. A man rides the roads looking for a lost connection, but the only thing he can connect to are his old albums.
Soundtrack to a story. Haunted by the death of a close friend, a man is desperate to feel something, anything, but the old connections are either dead and gone or just gone. He turns to a woman he met in Lucky Town, confident that she'll come his way, and sure in the knowledge that all the bad times that froze them out on Tenth Avenue haven't happened yet. But he knows this woman well--she's her own worst enemy. And thinking about enemies makes him remember his lost friend, and a conversation about right and wrong. It also makes him think of his lost youth, which is everywhere he looks as he watches the lovers walk by, and all the girls in their summer clothes, none of whom stop for him now, because they can see he's been hurt, they can see he envisions his salvation in their eyes, in their company. But they pass him by. So he turns to the current woman in his life and recommits to her, promising to work at her love, even though his vision of faith is like a long staggering walk through the stations of a secular cross. He thinks back to the carnival, to that night in the tunnel of love, the night they saw the sideshow magic performance, but not even sleight of hand can change his life, all it can do is tell him what his future will be as a predestined end. And what is that end but a long drive with his wife beside him and his kids in the backseat, listening to a radio that brings him news of a war that is like his marriage, and a marriage that is like a war that has all been a mistake. He tries to figure out what went wrong, but he's been turned out of his house and can only wander through his home town, remembering the words of his father, words that echo the magician's prediction that "this is what will be" by reminding him that a courthouse flag represents things that are set in stone, things that will never change, defining who we are, and what we can and cannot do. And he thinks back to the carnival again, only now it's mingled with thoughts of the war, with visions of dead soldiers and sunlight on graves, with faith and the woman in his life, and he's back where he started, crying out to feel the beat of a heart. And then silence, and finally, at the end of that silence, he says goodbye to his dead old friend in an empty room in Nebraska.