lenten journal: love song

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Yes, I know it’s two words tonight, but they go together like one. Bear with me.

There are times in life where nothing happens other than daily life and yet it feels somehow crucial and important. These are those days for me. My days have been full of everyday things, and those things have taken up some of the hours normally given for sleeping, which means I’m up late searching for words to keep my promises. Everyone else in the house is upstairs, and I’m sitting at my computer with my headphones on in the corner of this 1785 house that probably spent close to the first two hundred years of its existence without hosting a wifi network.

I have a wide collection of music, but there are certain records and certain songs that find their way to most every playlist. As I sat here staring at the blank page on the screen in front of me, one of those standards began to play: Jason Isbell’s “Flagship,” which ranks among the best love songs I know.

I realize it may not have much to do with Lent, but tonight his words and music are my offering, and these are the lines that get me every time:

you gotta try and keep yourself naive
in spite of all the evidence believed
and volunteer to lose touch with the world
and focus on one solitary girl

Yes. Every. Day.

there’s a few too many years on this hotel
she used to be a beauty you can tell
the lights down in the lobby they don’t shine
they just flicker while the elevator winds

and the couple in the corner of the bar
have traveled light and clearly traveled far
she’s got nothing left to learn about his heart
they’re sitting there a thousand miles apart

baby let’s not ever get that way
I’ll say whatever words I need to say
I’ll throw rocks at your window from the street
and we’ll call ourselves the flagship of the fleet

there’s a lady shining shoes up by the door
and cowboy boots for seven dollars more
and I remember how you loved to see them shine
so I run upstairs and get a pair of mine

and there’s a painting on the wall beside the bed
the watercolor sky at Hilton Head
then I see you in that summer when we met
and that boy you left in tears in his Corvette

baby let’s not ever get that way
I’ll say whatever words I need to say
I’ll throw rocks at your window from the street
and we’ll call ourselves the flagship of the fleet

ou gotta try and keep yourself naive
in spite of all the evidence believed
and volunteer to lose touch with the world
and focus on one solitary girl

baby let’s not ever get that way
I’ll say whatever words I need to say
I’ll throw rocks at your window from the street
and we’ll call ourselves the flagship of the fleet

Peace,
Milton

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