But I don’t know what to really say about it.  How it correlates with my hero worship—a man living with his mother, and maybe that’s not really the story.  The story doesn’t end where it began.  We must go forward from the death of David’s father to the death of David’s son—what happened in April 1966—for that’s when David lost his hearing, or at least partial hearing—his perfect pitch.  Those earth tones to his bottleneck slide.  And maybe I can discern what he was saying here, in this last journal entry the day after Thanksgiving 1954.  The dichotomy he saw in what is earth and what is not, and the mediation of imperfect wills with infinite mercy.  How maybe loved soothed the symmetry and hate showed the contrast.  How if you love the earth you are in a modus vivendi the way life goes on, and in hate you exist in alienation where time is not a friend, inexorable.  What Native Americans know in their religion and why there’s no word for goodbye in Sioux. How every day is the same day really.  Your life on repeat through many suicides.  The path to Nirvana and never being reborn finding your life in service to others and all the rest a collage of hopes and dreams you have to give up to really like yourself really love yourself and wake up to a new day.  Along the way all the pitfalls called strategies succumbing to desire, self-help and self-reliance, games where we’re told we can win and that being alone isn’t so bad but by the time we realize we’ve always had a losing hand it’s too late.  We must give up aspiring to do good for the more good a person does the more likely they’ll end up in hell.  We go over it over and over again to understand our reality—a Jonathan Edwards guilt as sinners in the hands of an angry God yet how we can still take joy in the beauties of nature and delight in the allegorical interpretation of the Song of Solomon—what David found in the birth of Dulcinea’s child, a child of incest.  For are we criminal?  Are we a good person that just fell?  And is that enough—to term ourselves as good or evil?  What’s sinful in one culture can be seen as an act of grace in another.  What’s praised by man in one society can send some to prison somewhere else.  Truly the matter of salvation is not consensual.  For what you see as your redeeming qualities might be dealt with harshly in someone else’s perseverance.  And so we go over it over and over again.  We say someone will not die today, but someone always does.  You cannot save your father from death, and the works of your faith are always misconstrued and end in the perception of the other’s judgment.  Can we be without nothing?  And is our existence conclusive only in the jury of our peers?  What I want to deal with here is not linear, but two times two places at once—Duke Threnody’s death in 1955 and Benjy’s death in 1966—what David tried to hear in both, but some of the language lost, lost in a punctured eardrum from a gunshot, how it came out in his songs, songs he’d already written and songs he would write, his third album recorded in 1955, the better part of that year David living with his mother.

            “You broke it again…”

            And he has to wait on her.  David has to wait on his mother’s slow gait down the stairs.  Down from the upper room the upstairs apartment above his father’s pawn shop.  David just wanted to go outside to smoke, but in alarm was tied by a string to the front door—a wound-up bell.  He thought he had unhooked correctly, but as he came back in the string caught in the door, setting the alarm off.

            “The string got stuck!”

            “Move… move out of the way!  Your father had a piece of tape to hold the string when it wasn’t latched.”

            “I don’t know why you need it.  The door is always locked at night and you jam a chair under the door knob…”

            “Your father put it up.  He used it so I use it.  No tellin’ with robberies in the area.  Neighborhood ain’t what it used to be.  And you don’t remember those riots.  Those riots the summer you were born…”

            David didn’t know how to turn it off.  His mother slowly uses the chair jammed against the door to stand on and turn off the bell   It was wound pretty tight, but she spends the time to wind it again.  She’s in her house robe and slippers.  David still hears a ringing in his ears.

            It’s a night in January.  Winter has come to East St. Louis.  His father has been dead for three days…

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