Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Now as the Train Pulls Away - SQOTW

here on the platform, a well laid plan
pain in your pocket, ticket in your hand
rain on your lips, honey i wish you would stay
now as the train pulls away

no signs to read, no voices to warn
people don't stay, in love anymore
what about forever, 'til the end of our days
now as the train pulls away

rehearsed all my lines, but i forgot what to say
some things are just, too little too late

eyes they're all empty, mouths they're all dry
words they just stumble, and fail you every time
aching's all that's left, at the end of the day
now as the train pulls away

-- Now as the Train Pulls Away, Vigilantes of Love from the great, great Audible Sigh CD

This is it. If I had to pick one favorite over all the Bill Mallonee songs, this is the one. It's a simple lament over what's happened to love these days. It's beautiful in its sadness, and the rhythmic train-like start and finish fits just so well with the train image the song echoes.

My brother and I have talked a lot about musical perfection (specifically in rock music or its spawnings) before. I'm not sure there is such a reality of that ideal, although some songs rub up against it. For me, this tune is about as close as it gets for sustaining it for about three minutes.

The heartbreaking lyrics of broken love and broken marriage... mm... it hurts to think about, especially when you can identify or empathize with them. "What about forever to the end of our days?" We make and take these oaths when we're young (or sometimes not so young) with all best intentions, and then life happens. And time happens. A lot of taking without much giving. What started with forgiving and forgetting becomes remembering and remonstrating. Battlelines are drawn and defense mechanisms are aimed for counter-strikes to the bombs you know are coming until over time, all love gets bled out of a heart that becomes stone.

Aching's all that's left...

We live this life... we get one chance... and we end up with this mess on our hands and wonder how it came to this.

And we watch as the person we once loved just walks away.

5 comments:

Brett said...

Obviously (well, obviously to Rich, at least), this song cuts close to the bone for me. Bill Mallonee is one of those guys that upon occasion simply writes my life.

What follows will only really mean anything or make any sense to Rich, but that's cool.

I actually had a dream about Margaret last night. In the dream, I had found a new job up in New Hampshire and was very excited about returning there. And Margaret told me that she would be moving away shortly after I would be arriving. It was all sort of bittersweet. I woke up thinking that it is amazing that it has been over a year now since I've seen her. It doesn't seem possible. We have a relationship now that no one understands (including me) but I trust that she is always in my corner. We just can't share our lives. But I think I know what Bill is singing about in "Now as the Train Pulls Away." And I think it's probably the saddest song I've ever heard.

It does have the big, huge killer Americana Buddy Miller guitar riff at the end - simple, each line building on the previous one, perfect.

Yeah, an absolutely great song.

BTW - Saw Josh Ritter last Wendesday at the Birchmere here in northern VA. An interesting band called Hem opened. Ritter was... well... I'm just such a fan. The show was awesome. Just about perfect - and he didn't even play "The Bad Actress" or "Song for the Fireflies" (which would have made it absolutely perfect).

codepoke said...

Yeah, Brett.

I dream about Amy from time to time. They're not happy dreams, and they're not sad dreams. They're just dreams of a life that's gone. They don't break me any more - I wake up, see how narrow the bed is and go on - but they remind.

I don't know your situation, but if this applies in some way then take it. (My situation is divorce, and it is irremediable.) There's a big difference between the pain 1 year out, and the pain 2 years out. At 2 years out, I enjoy the sound of the birds ushering in the morning again.

Wait on the Lord.

codepoke said...

That said, Rich, this song took me out.

Wow.

I am going to post on tennis and predestination on my site sometime in the next couple days. This is really what I am going to be thinking about.

Powerful stuff. Thanks for posting it.

--

I am going to mumble for a second about a couple of lines of your commentary. I am going to write as if I know what I'm talking about, but I'm just guessing. Feel free to counter or ignore.

What started with forgiving and forgetting becomes remembering and remonstrating. Battlelines are drawn and defense mechanisms are aimed for counter-strikes to the bombs you know are coming until over time, all love gets bled out of a heart that becomes stone.

Let me go backwards.

Sometimes the heart doesn't go to stone. The bleeding just keeps coming. It's better that way. I think that if you can keep bleeding, some day you can heal. I think that 10 years down the road, the one who bled more regrets less. Just a guess.

Counter-striking is a funny thing. If someone stands in front of you with a sharp stick and pokes you repeatedly, you will eventually begin doing something about it. Walk away. Duck. Block. Take the stick. The thing that's funny is that it doesn't really matter which one you do. They are all called counter-strikes by the person with the stick.

As for forgiving becoming remonstrating. One of my flaws is that I would rather forgive than be honest about being offended. My distaste for confrontation made it easier for me to forgive than to complain. My wife never knew when she was making me unhappy, so she never knew when she was making me happy. Being "too Christian" is not always a good thing.

Usually it is the woman in the marriage who has my problem. In my marriage, I was the weaker vessel. Either way, the stronger has to work to make the relationship a safe place for the one who always forgives. The weak need to put on strength. We need to learn how not to forgive.

We live this life... we get one chance... and we end up with this mess on our hands and wonder how it came to this.

That's how I came to watch the woman I most feared in the world walk away from me.

Brett said...

Codepoke - I don't know you from Adam and you don't know me. So take this for what it's worth. But you seem like a beautiful person to me. That's how you come across. The Internet is just this relatively new, strange way we have to communicate. Obviously, there are some pitfalls in the anonymity that is inherent in the medium. At the same time, there is something comforting about that very same anonymity. You can say something that you might be uncomfortable telling your best friend - and you can find people out there (people of good will, when you're lucky) who have lived or are living similar experiences or dealing with similar fallout.

All I can say is this. Thank you. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself. Thank you for your compassion.

codepoke said...

Thanks, Brett. And thanks for taking it how it was intended. I go TMI pretty quickly.

In my defense ;-)
1) There's not a word here that I have not shared with a couple of flesh and blood folk, too. :-)
2) I was writing under the influence of one killer poem!

Thanks, Rich.