Tuesday, August 16, 2011

(part 255) THE WAY YOU BROKE MY HEART



I am not as lost as I am fed up and frustrated by my own life and putting it out in public like a rotting piece of meat swarmed over by flies. As I listen to Danny Whitten's "I Don't Want To Talk About It" I understand the dilemma of trying to live with an utterly broken heart. There is no way to communicate the basis of my remark to anyone who has not truly been impaled on that particular nail. Likewise, without the ability to communicate to others one remains shattered by all that shattered them to begin with.

There is no way to convey a broken heart other than to do what the broken-hearted do, which has always been unacceptable to most of the rest of the world. One is either soundly condemned for it, or given a pep-talk from hell masquerading as good-intentioned advice. I reject both versions completely.

What begins to become vividly apparent, after years of neglect, is that what the problem was in the past now stubbornly remains the problem today, and appears destined to be the same tomorrow. Even in making this remark here and now I can feel the reaction to it from the masses who have been brain-washed into believing that they must counter this kind of thinking at all costs.

It is the wholesale inability and downright refusal to admit to, and/or cope with, the lethality of a truly broken-hearted person, that ultimately leaves those suffering abandoned by the many, as a remedy-or-else solution. In 1972 I made a decision, on two separate occasions, to commit suicide after nine years of repeated dead-ends in the music business, decisions I still wish had been successful. The fact that this is really how I feel has and will be met with numerous forms of criticism, contempt, anger, and possible worry.

It is this reaction by people, to those who suffer, that ultimately drives the sufferer away to sort out their options alone. Those people, who I have the deepest possible contempt for, reside in the luxury of their judgement offering up suggestions to a burning man such as, "You ougtta throw some water on that," and then claiming that they have helped.

In my life I have witnessed the repeated small-talk antidote for everything, no matter how lethal or destructive it may be, or have been, to an individual or their family. When my father committed suicide in 1970, I received help in the form of, "Don't let it get you down," and nothing else. Currently in my quest to keep breathing I receive basically the same identical advice as I did then. For decades I have crawled along the curb, hovering slightly above total annihilation, only to look up occasionally at those frowning at my performance.

It is brought home in recent days by another offer to release some of my songs on a label without any money, except somewhere in the future, a future which in my experience has never come and never will. Another voice saying, "You can trust me!" I would think that anyone who knew anything about my past would be embarrassed to make such an offer at this point, but then I surmise that this person either doesn't know, or does, and believes that I should trust them anyway.

To me it's another low-ball moment. Another day to say, "No!" Another time to turn my back and shake my head and wonder why anyone thinks that I need to do this shit some more? Every problem I have is directly linked to trusting people in the music business, with disastrous results. I don't need, or care about, another record of my work being released with nothing in it for me except it being the latest version.

If I live long enough, maybe someday someone will actually offer me something to participate in the release of some of my work, but in all honesty I am not holding my breath. But in the meantime all I can do is to write about, "The way you broke my heart."

1 comment:

  1. You are certainly right about platitudes and cheap advice. Danny Whitten took the other road: Who knows which one is the right one for that much pain? For a heart that is that broken?

    In my song, "I'd Have to Be Dead," I wrote: "I don't know what it is to fight and die, I'd have to be dead to know...." The next verse begins, "I don't know what it is to fight and die...and neither do any of you!" It is an anti-war song, but the sentiment fits many of those life and death questions. NOBODY knows!

    I don't care who it is, or how "successful" or how "downtrodden" they appear to be, we each of us muddle through for as long as we can. I am reminded of a line by Jefferson in the "Declaration of Independence" which states, "...all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." He was talking about enduring injustice until revolution becomes inevitable, but the concept applies to someone in an abusive relationship, someone with a terminal illness, or someone facing insufferable depression or unendurable physical pain.

    The song by Danny Whitten, "I Don't Want to Talk About it," is one of the most beautiful heartbreak songs ever written. Proof of its truly classic nature is that it has been recorded not only by Danny Whitten and Crazy Horse, but by Iain Matthews, Rita Coolidge, Nils Lofgren, Geoff Muldaur, and Rod Stewart to name a few, and as wildly diverse as those folks are, every one of those versions is an absolute knockout. Your story about his onstage melt down is also heart rending, especially knowing the eventual, inevitable outcome.

    Again, as painful as much of this outpouring is, both the poems and the prose share bold and difficult insights.

    I, for one, am glad that you have stuck around to tell your tale yourself and to rectify the record.

    Thanks for sharing the Danny Whitten piece and for sharing a little bit of his story as well as your own.
    Tim

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