Every day tries to test our devotion. Our devotion to anything takes body shots from this side and the next as perceptions are clarified and everything else gets just a little cloudier. Given enough time, every person has the ability to let us down, to disappoint. Given enough time, we'll hardly be able to believe any of the words that come out of our own mouths, much less those of the people that we keep around us, those that we've brought into the world. Everyone's capacity for a letdown goes up exponentially. There's no dodging any of it or getting away from the confusion. Our trembling hands - the ones that will graft themselves onto the ends of our arms as we age - will no longer be able to write straight lines, or operate the knife that can skillfully get past the outer layers of someone else. The build up of collateral damage and an inability to stand for bullshit leads people to be more open, feeling that they're running out of time and they only live once. Why wouldn't they just be as truthful as they could be? Most of the time, such a thing hurts. Most of the time it affects bridges and people tend to feel that they're tougher to live with nowadays.
Roadkill Ghost Choir writes about the great many tests that are slid across the desks or underneath the doors of most people. They're told to do their best and that they'll be graded on a curve. When the results come back, there are those who get good grades, but it doesn't mean that anyone's doing well.
Andrew Shepard sings the way a man does when he's exhausted, when he knows that things should be better, but that something like seeing a bird singing just outside his window is enough to foster hope. He's a man who's been tenderized. He's been scraped up and he's reassembled himself so many times that he's stopped counting. The doctor just says, "What is it this time?" when he sees him walk into his office. It's usually just that feeling of worry - of knowing that things aren't going so well. There are people to fear and there are places where most of these people congregate and no matter how clear this is, getting away from them calls for desperate measures. There is the feeling that we're covered in "dirty skin" and getting that off would be an improvement, but then there's nothing but a bloody mess to deal with and that might be worse. These plaintive songs of shaky dreams, fools, bloody noses, half-full bottles and cold hands mark everyone as someone who's going to go down with their ship and there's nothing wrong with it.
*Essay originally published January, 2013