My brain is stuck in a loop, snatches from songs long loved or unheard and unimportant for half my life spring to the foreground and whirl me back in time. As they spin in and out I seek them out on youtube, hoping to soothe my frazzled brain. Overwhelmed with pain and fatigue, unable to settle, flitting like a butterly brushing it's wings against memories held in time and place.
"Slip inside the eye of your mind" to a time of smoking malboro reds and drinking black coffee. "Step outside cos summertime's in bloom" and suddenly I can't remember when I last did. Could it have been only yesterday? Yesterday a year ago?
It's like listening to a poorly tuned radio swooping between stations. Memories appear from behind a cloud of static, lyrics dance around me. "I will sail my vessel til the river runs dry" under velvet black skies, filled with diamond bright stars and the humid scent of an East Coast summer. Laughing in the bed of a truck, huddled under blankets, miles from anywhere as we sung.
The past waltzes from song to song against a constant background of pain. Touch upon it too closely and it provokes the neurological equivalent of screeching feedback through a PA system. "now the drugs don't work....I, I have become, comfortably numb" Southern French skies, the hot smell of dust and marijuana inhaled for the first time. Treasured tapes, more than six degrees of separation from their original. "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky"
"from then on it was turpentine and patches" spins me two decades ahead. The smell of skies leaden with rain from the open window tips me back. Sheets of rain on canvas roofs, a child's voice pure and perfectly pitched sings "I will remember you, will you remember me?" I do. Not her name, nor her face, but I remember the beauty of her voice haunting across darkened woods.
The songs steer me safe. Away from the pain threatening to overwhelm. Close my eyes and the music dances me away, a selfish partner, whirling and swooping through streets shining softly amber as snow falls "If you think of me, if you miss me once in a while, then I'll return to you" not a promise but a threat "I'll find my way back to you."
I'm 12 again. A gymnast, falling through the air. "time flies, doesn't seem a minute.." flat on my back on the hard gym floor. Unable to breathe or talk. For a moment which feels like a lifetime as time stretches and bends like my battered body against the unyeilding floor. "I can feel the devil walking next to me". I felt that devil with me for months to come, squirming endlessly on hard wooden seats in classrooms with windows too high to feel the air. Repetitive movements practised over and over. Even now, years after my body forgot, my brain remembers how and sends futile signals. Without the movement I spin off across the floor, still able to savour the natural high "Thou shalt not fall"
"Won't you help to sing? These songs of freedom.."