Springsteen & I: NYC: 05/25/2013
Excerpt from a letter:
I suppose it is a bit cliche… semi-suburban first-gen immigrant white girl finds salvation and continuance in the thundering lyrics of Bruce underscored by the brilliant busting melodic screeching of Clarence on sax, but cliche as it may be, I don’t know what my life would have been without Bruce, Clarence, the E Street Band.
Torrid encounters, domestically-savage and ravaging experience… what would have become of the wounds without the thrill-narratives and impudent honor of having ‘survived’ – what should not have happened/been happening/is still happening in the first place? The rides in the back seat or back alley turned ugly; the aimlessness of the riding around all night with no destination; the wrecks and bars, the wrecked bars and bar wrecks; the panting that placeboed for un-attendant parenting, or just belonging.
Springsteen is a chronicler of one kind of place and time, of one kind of abandonment and neglect. In his care, like all great chroniclers, he rendered it cool, even auspicious; a kind of bravado made shield and swagger for the scared and haunted who chase streetlights like stars, shored up by the purest of innocent denial, ignorance, defeat. Survival must become cool, otherwise one loses both.
Why this rift on Springsteen?
Oh yeah… “disappointment…”
One of my most favored lyrics – and probably how and why I sought and became philosopher of sorts (and the sorted) — is a line from The River:
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”
I have traveled with this line through thick and thin since the first time I heard it — 1980. I have tried to invent the word that would and could, capture and tame this ever-escaping concept: the dream that doesn’t come true.
Its conditions are:
It is greater than (a) disappointment.
It is similar to, but different from a lie. The lie comes from somewhere.
The ‘dream that doesn’t…’, doesn’t come at all. It rests in perpetuity.
The ‘dream that doesn’t…’ is forever M.I.A.
The ‘dream that doesn’t…’ is enough to warrant its own name and word.
No luck so far, still working on it.
Lucky instead, to have Bruce on board, literally and figuratively — in cars, in headphones, in head and heart… — making the unbearable, cool; making the not-ought-to-have-happened/to-be-happening into the adventure itself; making the real gone-wrong, those visible and invisible wounds into badges of honor for all us ‘non-scouts’ who needed recognition so desperately — at least our own.
The ‘dream that doesn’t…’ is still a life that did.
In honor of my grandmother’s birthday:
Calliopi Yianncopoulos Essoglou Astras, born May 23rd, 1915, Smyrna.