Wayback Weekend – Finale

Creating has always been a solitary process for me. Truthfully, I envy those folks who are adventurous and mentally unfettered enough to throw innovation spaghetti at the wall alongside other people, and watch the non-viable strands flop unattractively to the floor without a second thought.

So I’m ending my string of Wayback Weekends with what was a novel experiment for me. In the summer of 2000, I was preparing to go off to college, and I was not dealing with the impending change all that well. I was the kind of kid that transformed different chapters of my real life into looming epics in my mind, and I was not ready for that particular one to end.

In the midst of a pretty maudlin bout of nostalgia, I made my one and only 50/50 collaboration with a certain someone whose relationship to me defies labels even now. It’s probably most correct to say that we were allegorical figures to each other that didn’t truly exist outside the stories we told ourselves.

This person’s lyrics are not something I would ever write, but at the same time they slink out of my mouth pretty easily. It is weird to be almost 40 and think back on the true events I know inspired these words. By which I mean to say, it’s hard to be a grown-ass adult and take lightly the idea of a child being as exposed to the elements as this person was when he wrote this. At the same time, it’s a fun story to deliver, a flamboyant melodrama that in some ways has aged uncomfortably well and even evokes shades of Poe.

You’ll notice there are lyrics here that are not in the video, because my multitasking capabilities are lacking. Think of it as a duet with a phantom ~

Not Quite (2000)
Music by L Alexandra Manuel, age 17
Words by J.C.W., age 16

He clenches his fists and raises his rod
And blows upon his trumpet of steel
And in his naïve wisdom, he
Claims he has the power to heal

The masses admire his just cause
They believe divinity sowed his right
And their rights, granted by his hand
Raise him high, a sacred light

Rats running through the maze
Left or right
Into the wall
With pain and withdrawal

(I have their fix)

Now I, too, stretch out my hand
And cross to make that bridge
The waves make marsh of solid land
My strength becomes a crumbling ridge

I reap much more than I intend
Desire consumes my gilded core
And strips me of security
I fall prey to the rats’ common lore
The vortex gapes and sucks me down
And I descend forevermore

I’m running through the maze
Left or right
Into the wall
With pain and withdrawal

(Where’s my fix?)

Waking
(cringing, the desire)
Bathing
(cringing, the desire)
Drinking
(cringing, the desire)
Eating
(cringing, the desire)
Breathing
(cringing, the desire)
Toking
(cringing, the desire)
Shooting, coming, cramping, staving,
(cringing, the desire)

Seems that I went wrong in fear
My judgment quick and poor
No use longing to escape
I’m trapped behind this door

Suffocating in this maze
To hell with left or right
Straight into the wall
With plenty of pain
This is withdrawal

(Give me my fix!)

(Let me go)

If I fail to come up
I just want you to know
That I let it go
I let it go

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