Thursday, June 30, 2005

Loose Ends

There are certain songs that just take us back to a particular time and place in our lives, songs we can't listen to without feeling we are there again. I try to avoid hearing "Loose Ends" for this reason. Can't even listen to the clip on the Springsteen website. The longing and heartbreak come over me like a tidal wave and I can't bear it.

It was 1984, I was in L.A. following the Born In the U.S.A. tour with a college friend when I met him. He was a tall California blond, younger than me by a couple years, soft-spoken and naive and easily pursuaded. We talked him and his friend into lot of things--an ill-fated trip to Disneyland, a movie in Westwood. But the main thing we talked him into was driving across the desert to Arizona to see Bruce one last time.

He was young, and he was cute, and I had been cooped up in a women's college for four years. I was 22, and full of adventure and curiousity and lust, and Bruce's nightly lovefest had awakened something new and strange within me.

I made many mistakes on that misadventure, and one of them was falling for him. I had a tape someone had given me -- a collection of unreleased songs including a startling track I had never heard before called "Loose Ends." It was full of romance and longing and wistfulness, and I couldn't stop listening to it. It fascinated and saddened me, made me long for things I couldn't explain and behave in ways I had never dreamed I could. I made a play for him, and was shocked when I found that I had gotten him. I couldn't believe I had that kind of power, had possessed it all along--that song did something to me, gave me strength and belief in myself I didn't know I had.

But the song's emotional truth is not joyful abandon and newfound love, it is loss and longing and heartbreak, and that's what I ended up with when I returned home. For a few short weeks, I had run frantically through slumbering city streets, slept on sidewalks, kissed boys in darkened cars...I had risked everything. This music and this song had opened up this wildness in me...And then I had to let it all go.

So I can't hear this song, can't bear to even think of it. 'Cause I think of him, and those wild, carefree times when anything seemed possible, and it's all too much...

I saw him years later at a Springsteen show in New Jersey. It was short and awkward and strange, and I left wishing I hadn't talked to him, had walked on by and kept walking. You can't go can't and yet something inside you makes you try.

We are left with memories and that is all. And I am left with this song that breaks my heart again and again...


Loose Ends
Words and Music by Bruce Springsteen

We met out on open streets when we had no place to go
I remember how my heart beat when you said I love you so
Then little by little we choked out all the life that our love could hold
Oh no

It's like we had a noose and baby without check
We pulled until it grew tighter around our necks
Each one waiting for the other, darlin', to say when
Well baby you can meet me tonight on the loose end

We didn't count tomorrows, we took what we could and baby we ran
There was no time for sorrow, every place we went I held your hand
And when the night closed in I was sure your kisses told me all I had to know
But oh no


Our love has fallen around us like we said it never could
We saw it happen to all the others but to us it never would
Well how could something so bad, darling, come from something that was so good
I don't know


Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

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