Saturday, April 13, 2013

TIED UP WITH A CHORD

In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the "mystic chords of memory" touching the better angels and averting a war that was already inevitable. For me there is only one chord that summons the better angels: the D5 played by Pete Townshend to start "The Kids Are Alright." I play it every now and then to create calm and stem an inner struggle that even the most evocative sounds and memories cannot stop entirely.

I use Townshend's D5 as a text tone for one number, the same number that plays the opening piano notes to Kanye West's "Runaway" when there's a phone call. A couple days ago I thought about changing the tones, or even deleting the number; there is little sense in keeping digits that are never used. But that seemed churlish, a spiteful reaction to a rude action.

Still, the urge is there; the bitter taste remains in my mouth and has trickled into my gut. Several pulls from a bottle were required last night before I was certain I would not vomit a stream of bile. Pozen from the Paragraph Factory was good enough to match shots with me as we watched Say Yes to the Dress, but even having that show on as background noise was a little too Friday-night familiar for comfort. Like the D5 text tone, it only served to remind me how empty a part of my life has become. The hole I thought I'd filled with concrete proved to be sitting on top of a deeper sinkhole in my heart. I look inside and I'll be damned if I can figure out how far down it goes; all I know is every attempt at filling the hole — with meditation, milligrams, mindless debauchery — has failed. There's been plenty of fun along the way, sure, and sometimes I think I'm close to plugging that sucker, but the dreams and the voice always return, and that's when the cement patch collapses into the cavity below.

I pull out my phone, play the D5 chord and tell myself I have a text.

Doc asks: "Do you want to get better?"

I answer: "I don't know how."

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