Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Haloed in Anger

On September 11, 2001, I drove into work to the tune of "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney and Wings. I was in a happy, playful mood. I soon wasn't. I remember clenching fists as our company gathered to pray. I remember our prayers being interrupted by the announcement that the second tower of the World Trade Center was collapsing. I remember being angry, and I remember later being consoled, if only slightly, by the words of the song "Cry Like an Angel" by Shawn Colvin. I printed those words cruciform on a sheet of paper and hung them on my bulletin board as a memorial, not far from the walnut shell I'd pocketed earlier that morning, found on the sidewalk as I enjoyed the morning, chewed by a squirrel into the shape of a peace sign. I don't think I can produce the words cruciform in this post; I'm not that skilled a blogger. But I thought I'd post the words nonetheless, with thanks to Shawn Colvin for giving me a voice and an outlet in the days that followed that day.

The streets of my town are not what they were.
They are haloed in anger, bitter and hurt.
And it's not so you'd notice, but it's a sinister thing
Like the wheels of ambition at the christening.

So I went out walking on the streets of the dead
With a chip on my shoulder and a voice in my head.
It said you have been brought here
Though you don't know what for.
Well the mystery train is coming right to your door.

And I hear you calling, you don't have to call so loud.
I see you falling and you don't have to walk so proud.
You can run all night, but we can take you where
You can cry like an angel. . . .

So look homeward baby; keep your eyes on the sky.
They will never forgive you, so don't ask them to try.
This is your party; I know it's not your ideal.
May we all find salvation in professions that heal. . . .

You can shout out an answer.
You can look like a fool.
You can call out to heaven.
We'll be listening to you.
You can sing Hallelujah!
You can fly like a bird.
You can cry like an angel when there are no words.

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