106. Twice Shy

I tried to sleep, I mean really tried.

Lay down, closed my eyes, recited the circle of fifths, tried to remember as many alternate tunings as I could, stuff that put me to sleep during theory class but which didn’t work now.

I kept flashing on that moment, his hand reaching toward me and me pulling back like he was red hot. At that moment I hadn’t thought,” gee, now I’ve got to keep my distance, I can’t let him just do this…” It wasn’t anything like that. I did not intend anything by it; I jerked away pure, simple reflex: don’t touch me.

But lying there alone I was wishing it could have been another way.

After an hour of not sleeping, I sat up with the germ of a song in my mind, pulled out the Epiphone and then cursed as I tried to close my left hand over the neck. Pain shot up my arm and I had no strength to close my fingers. Ah, jeezusgod, fuck me.

I dragged out a pad of staff paper and a pencil and jotted down the lyric, blackening in notes as I sang softly to myself. So, music school was good for some things. The rough shape of the chords was in my ears and I called out fragments of melody, trying them on for size, trying to match up words… I had to hold the pad down in my lap with the heel of my left hand while the pencil scratched across the paper. One line became such a mess I couldn’t sight read it and I crossed it out and copied it again onto another.

I tapped my right hand on the fret board, trying to get the sound clear, a rhythm part, melody, but it was like drinking with an eyedropper. Putting some notes to some words was the easy part–it’s the stuff between the words, between the verses, that makes a song for me. Another verse started to take shape and I went back and changed the words of the first two to make a parallel. I might have been using an eyedropper but I’d be damned if I was going to let myself lie there thirsty.

Caught in your net of lies
I wait
fluttering, struggling
as your hand reaches for me

caught, flashback
caught, flashback

Caught in the nick of time
I lay
in the dark, on my back
as your hand reaches for me

Caught in a flash of light
one moment, frozen
as your hand reaches for me

I’d never wanted to write an instrumental bridge so badly in my life.

(below… just another something I found…)


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