skittish shadows, flirting with the smoke filled shadows of my mind and still my mind burns like cheap whisky coursing down my throat while the beckoning, cavernous maw of blackness approaches just another hungry mouth that needs to feed at the trough of my existence
rollin’ and a tumblin’ it draws nigh no warning bell tolls this boiling tempestuous darkness a mist of uncertainty splashed with crimson wrapping you in its threadbare torn black shroud black as the coal driven snow no protection afforded from the shards of blackness ….. releasing, enveloping or entombing?
© 2018 michael d emmerich
‘You can change a life in three minutes with the right song’, says Bruce, or dive into his autobiography and be changed by his raw punchy, iconic life story as he unflinchingly tries to figure himself him out, by asking the deepest questions.
Born to Run is his autobiography, that was released on September 27, 2016. The title is named after Springsteen’s iconic 1975 album and song “Born to Run”. He worked on his autobiography, alone for seven years, before seeking out a publisher. I need to state my conflict of interest upfront – I am a HUGE Springsteen fan 🙂
This book at times comes across as a soulful soliloquy, of a guy sitting quietly at the bar, sipping a bourbon talking to himself, trying to figure out the journey of his life. There is so much to tell, and so much that he cannot fully explain; and in is own self effacing way, he doesn’t claim to get it or entirely understand his journey. His epic live shows, which regularly run for three to four hours, are part of his legacy and his triumph. Why does he do them? You will have to read the book to unravel that mystery.
I absolutely love this book, it took me a long time to finish it, just because I wanted to savour every page and story, and reflect on his music that he was writing at that point in his journey. I keep going back to read flagged sections, and replay the music of that period of his life. For the die hard Springsteen fans (and I’m sure all readers), who know and love his music, the book will be an emotional roller coaster, bringing one to tears and then laughter. More than once, I needed to put the book down, and just reflect on the raw truth been told in his story.
Their are parts of his life story to which I (and others) can relate to, and gain strength from; his working class roots, mental illness and addiction problems of family members, bouts of walking in darkness, bending over backwards to avoid conflict (stemming from his childhood) and the strong burning social consciousness that drives him onward. His work ethic and ability to keep pushing on, whilst critically examining himself is both admirable and inspiring.
All I do know is as we age the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier …. much heavier. With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. Maybe I’d cut myself loose one too many times, depended on my unfailing magic act once too often, drifted that little bit too far from the smoke and mirrors holding me together. Or … I had just got old … old enough to know better. Whatever the reason, I’d found myself, once again, stranded in the middle of … “nowhere” but this time the euphoria and delusions that kept me oiled and running had ground to a halt.
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Like his lyrics, the book is written from the heart which he wears so close to his sleeve, raw, exposed and open to for all to see, and openly bleed out lyrics, that resonate with so many. This particular paragraph above so resonates with me, when I first read it and even more so at my present place in my life.
If you have ever listened to or read the lyrics of most Springsteen songs (except maybe Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, and maybe a few more), you would know that Bruce Springsteen is a really deep and insightful writer. You just have to listen to his three raw acoustic albums, to fully comprehend his blue collar roots and journey since those early New Jersey days, and how uncomfortably he wears the mantle of The Boss, as it weighs him down. Head over and read: The Bard of New Jersey for an introspective review of his three acoustic albums.
Springsteen has lots of questions about what fuels him – emotional neediness, obsessive-compulsive hubris, the fact that he just comes alive onstage. “There, strangely enough, exposed in front of thousands, I’ve always felt perfectly safe, just to let it all go. That’s why at our shows you can’t get rid of me.”
Let us give thanks, that we just can’t get rid of him either!
His honesty about his mental health is helpful to anyone who has suffered from depression or supported a loved one suffering from this illness. Any fan of Springsteen will not be put off by his admitting he has suffered, and as others have pointed out, he has shown that he has achieved so much more than the average artist over the past forty years. Well into his sixties, and he still regularly pushes out rollicking rock concerts to thousands of adoring fans.
“Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.” Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run
And in my humble opinion you have more than succeed Bruce, and to the reader; revel in it and enjoy.
keep moving every minute of every day pushing onward refrain from looking back evading that twisted claw of grief as it tries to shred the memories of yesterday
© 2018 michael d emmerich
clouds roll over the horizon blanketing my mind this dark gray heavy mass unfurled creating an epitaph of confusion despite all the love and protection that enveloped us absence drove a wedge splitting your heart in twain that twisted spear of absence oh how I wish I could turn back and lose myself in you again …. found my world in you lost myself with you now I am lost, alone having lost my world
© 2018 michael d emmerich
I wrote this poem in Nov 2016 as 3 separate poems, but they are meant to be read as one. Here it is re-edited and posted in its entirety. The poem emerges from the cocoon of my reading and musings of TS Elliot, Dante, Descartes and some Arthur Conan Doyle.
1. when you down who lifts you up when you are lost who finds you when you fall, is it from grace if so, whose grace who is lost with you who binds the wounds whom do you discover, when you are down yourself or another what awaits over the horizon what lies beneath the wounds what lifts you up come on rise up we rise by lifting others up we discover ourselves when lost we need not be alone come on, stand together every breath is a doorway to heaven or hell so just breath and rise up 2. as you await at breaths doorway just breathe and see what awaits as you pause to exhale by not breathing we are forced to choose heaven or hell but let not fear inspire either mortality or immortality let Virgil be your guide through the mythical dark wood of spiritual values that at times perverts' human intellect the pilgrims journey demands questions be answered within the dark forest on a crooked path the meaningful can become meaningless as we journey on a quest into the unlit darkness 3. we are on a journey on a quest into the darkened heart of life, doubts and dreams that search for proof of life strength in life, rests on doubt accept that which you know to be true are dream states virtual reality is life one constant dream what is real? let knowledge be your secure foundation not the imagination thereof but the doubt thereof let doubt be your proof of life doubt creates sanity life is stronger than anything the mind can invent what is real are our thoughts doubt your senses doubt your existence rise up and claim your reality think, therefore, you live
© 2018 michael d emmerich