Cities in Dust


I woke to steel gray skies this morning, and the first few flakes of snow sifting down like dust from the heavens. By the time I was out of the shower the snow had increased until the street and steps were already covered in white. Remember that post I wrote about Spring arriving at last? Yeah, not so much. Winter is like that last guest at the party. Everyone else has gone home, the dishes are in the sink, the bottle of wine is empty, and you keep stretching your arms above your head and yawning, but they just don’t get the hint.

Remind me not to invite Winter to anymore parties.

After dropping the kids at school, I slipped a CD into the car stereo, and began inching my way to work on the snow covered roads. As the first notes of the song began to play, I began to drift away to a far and distant time…

It was October 1988, and we were headed to Montreal on a whim. The only three friends I had with any musical taste had decided at the last moment to make the 2 hour drive from Potsdam through the leafless, windy St. Lawrence valley to see Siouxsie & The Banshees at the St. Denis theater. Looking out the window of the car at the darkened landscape, the lights of industries along the river glimmered like distant constellations. The headlights of passing cars caused our dim reflections to flare briefly into light. Montreal always felt like stepping through the looking glass.

Stepping through the glass doors of the posh and ornate old theater only added to sense of displacement. In our hiking boots, long hair, and flannel shirts we stood out among a lobby full of people dressed in black. The Goths looked at us as if we had walked in on their conversation, scowling with contempt at our lack of conformity to their rebellious fashion. The irony was not lost on me.

We bought what tickets were left at the box office, and settled into our seats in the last row of the lower level, beneath the overhang of the balcony. I’d never seen a band in such baroque surroundings before, but when the lights went up, and Siouxsie Sioux stepped on stage dressed like Marlene Dietrich in the Blue Angel, I couldn’t imagine seeing her anywhere else. I was mesmerized. She prowled the stage like a cat, toying with the audience, and holding the eyes of 4,000 people transfixed. There may have been a band, and other people in attendance that night, but for the next 2 hours it felt for all the world like it was her and I alone in a theater in Weimar Berlin. For the first time I truly understood the meaning of femme fatale.

Only music has the ability to lift your soul out of your body, and transport it to a place so far from reality. As the snow falls outside my office window, I turn again to music to take me away. Shhh… listen.

siouxsie

 In the sharp gust of love
My memory stirred
When time wreathed a rose
A garland of shame
Its thorn my only delight
War torn, afraid to speak
We dare to breathe
Majestic
Imperial
A bridge of sighs
Solitude sails
In a wave of forgiveness
On angels’ wings

Reach out your hands
Don’t turn your back
Don’t walk away
How in the world
Can I wish for this?
Never to be torn apart
Close to you
‘Til the last beat
Of my heart

At the close of day
The sunset cloaks
These words in shadowplay
Here and now, long and loud
My heart cries out
And the naked bone of an echo says
Don’t walk away

Reach out your hands
I’m just a step away
How in the world
Can I wish for this?
Never to be torn apart
Close to you
‘Til the last beat
Of my heart

How in the world
Can I wish for this?
Never to be torn apart
‘Til the last beat
‘Til the last fleeting beat
Of my heart

siouxsie

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