April 13, 2019

Chapter 15 - A Song Life Sang to Me

A Song Life Sang to Me


This is actually the tail-end of a long story. It's part of the story about how and why I have been writing songs for just about as long as I could write. I gave a friend the option of reading the story behind my song writing or reading the lyrics to a song and the story behind this particular song. She chose the latter so as a favor to her I am starting at the end.

I don't write these songs because I want to as much as because I have to. They come into my head on their own and rattle around making all kinds of noises and rackets. I started writing down the words that I heard because I didn't know how to play any of the instruments that they featured. By writing down the words I would always remember the melody. Once committed to paper things would quiet down and I could go back to whatever I was doing before all the commotion in my head began.

I have written down as many of these songs as was possible ever since. I have dozens of complete songs and even more that are incomplete. Stray verses and odd lines that are bits and pieces of songs that I can hear but can only make out one or two verses. While I hear these songs at all times, day and night, I also hear them when I am sleeping. And for the most part the ones that come when I'm dreaming are the ones I love the most. Because, not only do I hear them, but I get to see the pictures they are creating so vividly… like I am there.

The following lyrics are an example of a song that came to me while I was sound asleep. Like all of the songs that come from my dreams it had an entire set of odd and artful pictures, much like an MTV video for your brain that I watched as I listened to the words and music. If you were here I would play the song on my guitar and sing it to you… Lucky for you you're not.

Instead, I will list the title and lyrics just as I heard them in my dream and exactly as they came to me when I woke and wrote them down.

But first I'll tell you the story from the dream that was behind it.

I fell asleep one night and soon was in the middle of a strong dream. I dreamt that it was night and it was raining hard. I was up high in the air and looking down at a small building sitting alone on the side of a long straight road that stretched forever in both directions. An endless road that went nowhere.

The building was a small café or diner whose name I did not know and I came down to stand at the rear of it. There were two tanks of propane gas and beside them was a small window. I looked through the window and saw a huge dining room much too big to fit in the building I saw from above. The dining room was filled with empty tables littered with dirty dishes but there were no customers at any of them save one.

On the far side of the room was a bar with three men with their backs to me. Who they were and what their role or meaning was I never understood. At the end of the bar was an old RockOla jukebox and a song was playing. While the music filled the room, I had the distinct sense that no one was listening.

On the left side of the room was one man sitting alone at an empty table with a baseball hat that I saw as a cowboy hat. In the middle of all the littered tables was a woman who I was sure was the only waitress the place had. And ever would have. I could feel how tired she was and felt like she never got off work… ever.

She looked at the jukebox and so did I. Suddenly, I was in front of it and the song that was playing, a song that was clearly about the cowboy and the waitress was all I could hear. I also knew it was a song that they could not.

Of all the names of the songs listed I could only make out one title, "To Unknown Lovers." I knew it was the name of the song that was playing.

Again, I was outside looking in and the waitress looked directly at me with clear blue, weary and wistful eyes. Her head tilted to one side and she shook it as if she was tired of me standing around and said one word… "Well?"

The next thing I knew I was awake and all I could hear was the song on the jukebox. I stumbled out of my bedroom still groggy from the sleep, grabbed a pencil, and wrote down the words exactly as I heard them. Although I have changed one or two of the words over the years, the song itself and the words are still the same as they were since the first time I wrote them down. I wrote the whole song down in the time it took to listen to it.

The music comes from a Spanish guitar played with a flamenco rhythm… whatever that is. Castanets can be heard throughout.

Whenever I hear the words they sound to me as though the cowboy and the waitress are singing to each other, but neither one can hear the other. They are singing separate parts of the same song. Two solo voices that will never become the duet they should be. The song is one part wish and one part dream. The lyrics come from her wish and his dream.

Here it is.
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To Unknown Lovers

Her eyes, thinly veiled, show her lonesome pain
Still, she talks real easy as she makes her way
Through the little café,
Where I eat most every night
She works long hard hours and her life is tough
Yet, she's still so handsome she's beauty enough
And every time I look in her eyes
They seem to sigh...

Take me away!
Take me away from here.
Take me far from the pain of these lonely years.
Take me body and soul, anywhere you go,
Let's be gone forever.
Lead me far from this hurting place.
Give me love, fill my life… let me grow again.
Take my heart, take my nights,
Take my days.
Take me far away.

I don't do much. I just drive a truck.
And a man like me couldn't have such luck
That a woman as lovely as she would look my way.
But I know I could love her if I had the chance.
I'd fill up her life with soft romance.
We'd make our own music,
Dance our own dance every day.

What would she say?
If I told her I loved her?
What would she do?
If I said come away with me?
If I said take this chance we could try to be
The unknown lovers we both yearn to meet.

Every night I dream the same dream.
Finish my meal, then I'm gone.
But I swear someday I won't be leaving
Until she comes along.

I'll take her away!
I'll take her away from here.
Take her far from the pain of these lonely years.
Take her body and soul, everywhere I go,
We'll be gone forever.
I'll lead her far from this hurting place.
Give her love, fill her life, let her grow again.
Take her heart, take her nights,
Take her days.
I'll take her far away.

For forever and a day

I wonder what she'd say

Take me far away

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