Monday, December 15, 2008

Hallelujah

Night starts too early and lasts deep into morning, waking up dull and heavy, the dark weighing on my chest. I want to burrow under the covers like my cat, nose first into warmth, the fingers of dreams lacing in and through my waking mind.

I stand in the kitchen staring at an empty pan and wonder at its meaning.

I have an appointment downtown, the city desperately decked in holiday cheer and screaming SALE SALE, bell-ringing Salvationeers and brass bands and shopping bags knocking against knees, shoppers looking nonplussed to find only one bag in hand, last year it was twenty, but even Santa's cinching the belt another notch.

I'm cranky and late and hungry, no time to dodge my way through the crowds to the library, just hope for a train soon and home to lunch.

Down in the Powell Street station a stringy guy in reindeer antlers sings "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" with his guitar case open and he's good, the song pulls at me, but I have a train to catch and deeper in the station now another busker, this one a girl.

She looks unlikely, all pudge and colorless hair, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the station, guitar in her lap, but I get closer and now I can hear her voice, breaking free of the station and soaring up above the street, people are standing where they are to listen. She's singing "Hallelujah" and that's it, that's almost all I can take. I'm going to break into tears right here in the station. She finishes the song and I dig around in my purse to find all the quarters I can to drop in her case. Someone else is whispering his awe to her and she just says thanks and turns the page in her music.

A night later and already it's full dark at five. I'm in a coffee shop before strolling to a party, enough time to work on rewrites and I hear the familiar opening, it's John Cale's version, Hallelujah, and this time I think, yeah. Maybe the universe is speaking. We're on the edge of solstice, the earth turns and - miraculously - the weight shifts. Sun begins to rise a little earlier and hang in the sky a little longer.

Just hold on another week and watch. Hallelujah.



Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah


Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Baby, I've been here before.
I know this room, I've walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.

I've seen your flag on the marble arch,
But love is not a victory march,
No it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below,
Ah but now you never show it to me, do you?

Remember, yeah when I moved in you,
And the holy dove was moving too,
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah.

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above,
All I ever learned from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.

But it's not a cry that you hear at night,
It's not somebody who's seen the light
No it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much.
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch.
I've told the truth, I didn't come all this way to fool you.

Yeah even though it all went wrong
I'll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

10 comments:

Katie said...

Your writing is beautiful, and I am partially embarrassed to say that Hallelujah is one of my favorites. It fits in well with your post. Thank you for a great read!

Anonymous said...

Awesome story. Just what I needed this dark, early, frozen (6 inches of snow on the ground) Friday morning before Christmas. Hope to see you next spring.

cheers

Dean

shuriu said...

Oh, hon'- listen to kd lang's cover, too. GORGEOUS.

Chemical Billy said...

Katie, thank you so much for dropping in. Hallelujah is - obviously - a favorite of mine.

Dean, it's grand to hear from you. Yes, we'll have the guest room waiting...

Shuriu, you are so right.

LyP said...

hullo, dear buddie,

I am so amazed to live in a world where a regular human being can think of writing a song like that. Thanks, for the song, the writing, the hope. It's snowing here in Seattle today, a sad grey snow. I'm glad to have this warm hope in my heart.

Yer buddie
LyP

Chemical Billy said...

Lynn m'dear,

So good to hear a word or two from you. I'll see if I can send some sunshine your way.

c.

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