Yet on nights when, under all the arc-lanps, the little men of the rain come running, you’ll know at last that, long long ago, something went wrong between St. Columbanus and North Troy Street. And Chicago divided your heart.
Leaving you loving the joint for keeps.
Yet knowing it can never love you.
A tiny moment of confluence that I write down here just to remember as an articulated thought.
Nelson Algren’s Nonconformity: Writing on Writing I was yesterday morning reading. Ted Leo’s early solo single, work of supreme retro styling and contemporary reflection “The Great Communicator” I have now more than 8 years been repeating the act of committing to the grooves of my inconstant human memory.
The chorus of Ted Leo’s song runs something like this:
You get detached from what’s been going on/they feed you crap you can’t keep growing on/they give you stats that tell you nothing at all/about who you want to be
I have been deafening myself now and again with Dillinger Four’s catalog for near on the same amount of time.
Their very piquant pop song entitled “A Floater Left with Pleasure in the Executive Washroom” on 2002’s Situationist Comedy sports the chorus,
This isn’t what we want/this isn’t what we need/this is what we can afford
Ours no longer being the lonesome prairie’s desolation, but the spiritual desolation of men and women made incapable of using themselves for anything more satisfying than the promotion of chewing gum, a goo with a special ingredient or some detergent ever-urgent. Working one trap or another for others, the aging salesman of bonds or used cars, having made his little pile, senses dimly that he’s backed up into a trap of his own devising.
The tiger-pit of loneliness out of which there is no climbing. Alone at last with his little pile, the weary years in and the weary years out haven’t brought him a thing he wanted in his heart. It was only that which he was taught he was supposed to desire that he now owns so uselessly.
From the coolest zoot-suit cat getting leaping-drunk on straight gin to the gentlest suburban matron getting discreetly tipsy on Alexanders, the feeling is that of having too much of something not really needed, and nothing at all of something needed desperately. They both want to live, and neither knows how. That’s the trap.
The funny bankruptcy we brick ourselves in with is observed and trumpeted with clarion calls throughout the century by our artists, our artists who believe in keeping ideas in writing, in speaking, in singing.
The desperate traps we ensare ourselves in seemingly for lack of anything better to do, when in this short life we should instead be remembering how to live without insipid diversions and games of aging uselessly.