"Third greatest Singer-Songwriter in the English Language"
Somewhere, a little boy who was being beaten found the desire to become a young songman, and had the fire to create. He felt he had no choice. It was sing or die. He wandered out of the house of pain, and tried to hear something. He heard a harmonica from the Hibbing house next door but then it stopped. He then turned and looked back at the house of pain. He looked a long time. He couldn’t see anything moving. So he listened. He heard no sound from the house of pain. But he thought he heard something. It came from the East, then it came from the West. Then it stopped. He walked south, and slept on the living room floors of the unchosens, sometimes hearing noises from his stubby shaky fingers. Like a child, he copied what he liked. Like a three-year-old, he prayed for the universe¨ to be friendly. He wandered, doing only what he had to do. He followed cold things, believing they were more likely to be warm. Sometimes he hated the songs which held him like a child’s scared promise, which were his only meal, which fed him with such bitter wheat, which left him alone so many nights, staring at a blank, sick-grey night sky. For years he wandered, for countries. Listening with what he didn’t know was rage, hearing sounds he knew he hated. Disasters later, he was still cold, alone, rejected, empty-handed, empty-hearted. He stumbled into a lost soul who had been thrown out of the same temple as he, years before. “I know the country from which you come,” said the lost soul. “I see your journey. I wanted to take the same journey, but I cannot. My feet are poorly formed. But my heart feels your heart, and sees its emptiness, an emptiness that I know too. I cannot make the trip with you, but I know where you must go. Do not thank me. Just go there. Go for me, too.” He gave the songman a picture of a large dark house. The songman walked and walked and knocked. A young man stood inside the large dark house. And listened to the knock. A young man, who had been a little boy beaten, a little boy beaten, who had noticed under the blows that his hand was clenched on the desire to become a young musicman, a little boy beaten, who had been given one quick choice between death and pure sound, a little boy who had chosen--chosen quicker than a snake can bite, chosen with the gift of the fire to create, a little boy who had swallowed the bitter weed of cruelty, and had found deep in the cave of rage what few men can find: Gentleness.
He opened the door.
Eve Kennedy Schlesinger Aspen, Colorado