Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Smiling faces try to understand...'

Well, it really is Wednesday morning, 3 a.m., and I'm listening to the album of the same name by Simon and Garfunkel.

Can't sleep. Tough day. Such is life.

I put the record on to wind down, to listen to "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream," to seek healing in haunting harmony.

And then I heard "Bleecker Street."

"Voices leaking from a sad cafe; smiling faces try to understand..."

Somehow it fits.

Vinyl Side A's final is "The Sounds of Silence" (sic). This is long before "The Graduate." The title is still plural -- sounds. Mystic melody.

"It's theme," Art Garfunkel wrote, "is man's inability to communicate with man.

"There is no serious understanding because there is no serious communication -- 'people talking without speaking -- hearing without listening.' The words tell us that when meaningful communication fails, the only sound is silence."

Written on Feb. 19, 1964, nearly 50 years ago, a song for today.

Jonno Schwartz just reminded me of something.

"'How do you know so much?' John Guare once asked Stephen Sondheim. 'I listen,' was the reply."

Points to ponder on Wednesday morning at 3 a.m., or any ol' day of the week.

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