Hello in there…

She’s nearly 90, but still she’s filled with vim and vinegar. She’s got spunk to spare — no way she’s going to hang around with old people;  she’d much rather be home  sipping a martini and playing cards and smoking cigarettes while Dean Martin croons on the hi-fi.  But she’s got to be so lonely…

Three white-haired ladies look out the front lobby window and wonder if it’s as cold outside as it  seems…A receptionist barks “Turn your TV lower!”…Folks gather for meals a half-hour early because meals break the monotony of each dull day…”At least one person dies every week,” she tells us…Her face lights up when she sees you, when she sees she has visitors…I feel the surrender, the sadness, the dying…I don’t think I could face up to such loneliness…and I pray to God you never will.

As we sit and talk with her, I hear the old Paul Simon song:

And this sad but beautiful song by John Prine:


We’ve got to visit her again, sometime soon…

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Dangling conversations

Want my son to start laughing hysterically? Try singing a few verses from the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Dangling Conversation.”

What the hell…Damn the torpedos! Here’s the entire song:

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what weve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
Can analysis be worthwhile?
Is the theater really dead?
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
Youre a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Here’s an early photo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel:.

My theory is that they’ve had a discussion about the poems of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost and are now trying to figure out whether a “bookmarker” is the same thing as a “bookmark.”

Anyway…Paul Simon went on, of course, to write dozens of amazing songs. Here’s a partial list: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, American Tune, America, The Boxer, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Darling Lorraine, Duncan, Diamonds the Soles of Her Shoes, Fakin’ It, A Hazy Shade Of Winter, Hearts And Bones, Homeward Bound, Kathy’s Song, Kodachrome, The Late, Great, Johnny Ace, Mother And Child Reunion, Mrs. Robinson, One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor, The Only Living Boy In New York, Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War, Slip Slidin’ Away, Something So Right, Still Crazy After All These Years and Train In The Distance.

So…Here’s my theory. Maybe we can blame Art Garfunkel for the literary pretension oozing out of just about every word in “Dangling Conversation.”

Here’s what inspired my theory: The discovery that Art Garfunkel actually has a Web site, updated regularly, in which he lists every single book he’s ever read — or claims to have read. Bookmark — or bookmarker — this link: http://www.artgarfunkel.com/library.html