“It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you;
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do;
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna’ take some time to do the things we never had.”
– “Africa,” Toto (1981)
It sort of pains me to quote that song.
But, man, its been in my head.
That internet fueled, painfully faithful Weezer replication – minus the improvised keyboard interlude – has been playing over and over.
When I go to sleep, when I wake. And many of the places in between.
Hell, it even hit number 1 this week.
It certainly gives credence to the idea that new things are just old things – reimagined – once again.
The song, in case you don’t know, was largely considered shit by the critics of its time. Its references to Africa nothing more than convenient; it’s lyrics petty and nonsense. The video downright offensive.
I’m not so sure, anymore.
Rereading those lyrics, “Africa” seems an allegory for a lost love; it’s distant location a steady anchor for a place we may want to be, but can’t reach.
But what the hell do I know?
The things we can’t reach are everywhere. Maybe I’m looking for an allegory in a song that was a cash cow.
Maybe I simply wanted to include a kick-ass Weezer cover song in a blog post.
Who’s to say?
* * *
But I digress; even if I chose that as my lead.
Maybe, I chose it only because it mentions rains.
The kind that fall in spectacular fashion, like they did tonight. Full of wind, and flying branches and flying neighborhood accoutrements.
Is that my son’s basketball net down for the count?
Yes, it is.
Is that a large branch from my neighbor’s tree?
Is that my anger letting go, with something as simple as a summer storm?
* * *
Why can’t it be?
Our feelings are fickle things; drifting from one emotional response to the next.
All wrapped up in a hundred personal connections.
All of those connections moving in as many ways as the storms that blew through my neighborhood.
We are but tangents.
Connected to so many moving parts.
And our own moving parts infinitely manipulated by them.
To and fro.
It’s an uncoordinated dance.
* * *
Tonight, we turned off the lights.
All of them.
Kicked open the blinds and sat, inside, in the darkness, watching the trees bend.
Bend, but not break.
The storm did something.
Infected the kids.
They couldn’t stop screaming, dancing, darting about the room.
There’s something about that energy.
It’s explanation defies my understanding.
But it got them.
Have no doubt.
* * *
So, surely, there’s something here, right?
Some reason to write?
I’ve been obsessed with the negative.
All my flaws.
But like a perfect remake, we can’t do something in replication.
Make positive out of negative.
Convey the idea that the artist lost in longing is just a regular human sharing the dark.
I swear I want to be more transparent.
Just scream: All is okay!
But it’s more complicated than that.
It’s always more complicated.
Sure, it’s okay.
Sure, it’s fine.
But that’s a truth; and a lie – every time you ask: How’s it going?
So even when I aim to set the record straight.
I guess I can’t.
The question is too open ended.
* * *
Too many words into this shit show, I realize this is a poetic clusterfuck at its finest.
Too late to turn back now; might as well let it go.
When I set out, typing again – forgoing sleep to write – I wanted my regular readers not to worry. (And, to some extent, the hefty slate of coworkers who read this blog.)
This is – and always has been – snapshots from a mental second. The truth is always far more complicated.
Long after I go to bed, I think and rethink everything I wrote.
And never do these writings capture everything.
But they capture something – fleeting as it is – an idea.
An idea I can’t define.
An idea I want to hold on to.
Because I know something bigger lies within, even if I can’t see it today.