Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Bridge (1986)

1. "The Bridge in October"
2."Iron Man" 3."Irish Lace" 4. "The Bridge Like a Harp" 5. "The Bridge of Sighs"

Dedicated to Nate Horowitz and Ellen Fitzgerald
Recorded May 11, 1986 with performers Gwen Faasen, Kathy Proulx, Maria Royce, Rupert Kettle (R.I.P), Ric Troll, Paul Keller, and R.D. Swets (R.I.P.)
[Duration : 44mins)
This composition owes a lot to my Teacher, Harold Budd, elsewhere referred to as "The Godfather of Ambient Music"(?)

The Bridge of Sighs

The abandoned railroad bridge
out past the gypsum mine,
is a haven for drifters at night,
huddling on it with the mad dog and the canned heat.
The bridge I walked long ago,
before I was too many years into this childhood of mine;
a forgotten place, a secret place,
like the room under the basement stairs
where I used to hide as a child.
But on that afternoon it stood alone in the rays
of the last warm October sun.
Refugees of a sort, drifters to be sure,
we stood on the bridge, quite apart:
one looking up at the girders against the sky,
another down at the river below, And I, staring out to the point
where the river made its bend
and continued out of sight.
Heavily fueled by alcohol and Autumn,
we stood,
with the bridge like an iron man,
amidst wildflowers like Irish lace,
knowing only the bridge and the shore
that was south as we faced north.
How could I tell her had it not been for the bridge
I would not have left?
But standing on the bridge, all arguments were moot,
All questions rhetorical, the pain too great,
gears set in motion impossible to reverse.

In musical form, the bridge occurs between
the second and third verses of a song:
The third verse is very often a repeat of the first.
The bridge connects what went before with what went before that,
the immediate past with some distant past.

Another bridge, far from the gypsum mines,
spanning a canal in Venice,
connecting the courthouse with the prison.
The bridge has windows, the prisoners get their last view.
The wind blows through these windows,
producing a low whistle, a kind of moaning sound.
This bridge is called “The Bridge of Sighs.”

Everything of importance abandoned,
I returned to the bridge in Winter, after the storm.
The sound of the train in the distance,
though they had ripped up the tracks years ago,
and I found the message October had left:
“Iron Man will make the steel sing.
Irish Lace will cover the moon.
And to the bridge he walked long ago,
the child will return.

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