Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Shadow Life (or, "Angst for the Memories") -- A "Theme Thursday" Post

Today's Theme Thursday topic is "SHADOW."

So many ways to go with this'n, especially for a lifelong fan of the pulps' Kent Allard! But in my never-ending quest to avoid being predictable, here instead is an oh-so-dramatic and pretentious little song which I wrote just thirty years ago, followed by an explanation of sorts. I wish you could "hear" it instead of read it. The tune is best described as Simon & Garfunkel's "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall" meets the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face." (I'm sure that helps, huh?)


Lying in the dark,
Waiting for the spark
To set my life's fire ablaze.
Down-and-dirty six-gun,
Six-pack more, and I'm done,
Definitely, obviously crazed.

Shadows, always shadows,
Reaching out, and hiding in,
Words are veiled in sadness,
Wrapped again in madness.
Such, they say, are wages of my sin.

Pity not the One,
Satan's favorite son,
Death's second cousin, to boot.
Fighting off the hordes,
Counting my rewards,
Loneliness is part of my loot.

Shadows, always shadows,
Reaching out, and hiding in,
Words are veiled in sadness,
Wrapped again in madness.
Such they say, are wages of my sin.

© 5/26/1979 David M. Lynch

So, what the hell was I thinking when I wrote that, you may be wondering? (I mean, really! "Death's second cousin?") I wrote "Shadows" when in my early twenties, along with similarly-themed songs and poems like [deep breath, here!]: "The Black Sun Is Dawning," "Not by the Gun," "The Long and Bloody End," "False Hope Smatterings," "Death," "I'll Kick Myself Again," "Ode to a Fallen Warrior," "Flowers in the Gutter," "A Wonderful Way to Die," "Garrote," "Leavin'," "Lived in Hours," "Crime Don't Pay," and "This Must Be the End!"

After reading all of those titles and learning that I wrote them between ages twenty and twenty-three, you may presume that they were the results of some morbid teen angst hanging onto my psyche.

But no.

Actually, at that time, I was engaged in something I light-heartedly referred to as the "Irish Mafia." Some details surface now and then in a story called "My Island."

Those who know me now would scarcely believe I was once the type of person I was then. Colder, angrier... and, as my dear friend Patty once said, the coldness and anger were pretty much without cause!

Patty, quoted in My Island: "What attracted you to your precious Irish Mafia?" Ooh, another spark. Encouraging. "I mean, what's with this whole 'war with the world' bullshit? I don't recall any big injustices in your life that you needed payback for."

(God, I miss her!)

The Irish Mafia was, appropriately enough considering the title of the above song, a "shadow life" of sorts.

Without going into specifics, I must honestly admit that I pulled enough seedy little stunts back then to make me wonder if, every time something goes wrong in the lives of myself or those I care about nowadays, it's just karma biting me on the butt for sins I committed during my younger years.

Further details, unfortunately, will not be forthcoming! Got to have some secrets, don't I?

And with that ominous and frustrating note...

Thanks for your time.


  1. Intriguing and deft shadow boxing here, SF!

    As I read this song, I was giving it a sort of punk soundtrack--a tad eclectic, fast, with some hoarse shouting here and there. Imagine my amazement when I read that the true tune was an amalgam of "I've Just Seen A Face" and "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall." Yet, I tried singing the words along with a hasty pastiche of those tunes and it worked quite well!

    (Holy cow! You're not Cary Grant!!! Wuzza? Howzat? Hu buh buh buh? This is astounding!)

  2. Always a treat to hear from the infrequently-posting Sparkle Plenty! After reading your comment, I edited my post to list the two song references (S&G, Beatles) before the lyrics to "Shadows." But I wish I could hear the punk version you mentioned...

    And yes, the secret's out. I'm not really Cary Grant.

  3. Funny how karma has a way of doing that.

    This was just a teaser. Now we must hear it! Guitar? And that Cary Grant voice of yours. He actually sings in that movie Night and Day, where he portrayed Cole Porter, btw.

    Hey, speaking of, I thought you and Mr. Grant were separated at birth. You even had that same charming accent thing going on. What happened?!

  4. Somehow, I'm not surprised at all! I mean...after do have Poe on your sidebar. tee-hee! You know, you could have done a video clip of yourself singing the song. I know I speak for all of us when I say we would have enjoyed that very much! ;)

  5. @Willow:

    "This was just a teaser. Now we must hear it! Guitar?"

    I used to sing lead in a few bands, but as for the guitar (or any other instrument), nope. Sorry.

    "And that Cary Grant voice of yours."

    More like a cross between Burton Cummings and a few others.

    "He actually sings in that movie Night and Day, where he portrayed Cole Porter, btw."

    Plus there's his recording of "Christmas Lullaby."

    "Hey, speaking of, I thought you and Mr. Grant were separated at birth."

    Well, he would be much older if he were still around...

    "You even had that same charming accent thing going on."

    I did? How'd I accomplish that on a blog? ;-)

    "What happened?!"

    Karma bit my butt yet again!!!

  6. S.F., you could sell these lyrics y'know...I'm just sayin' is all :)And the titles, as well, yes? And wot's this new avatar thingy?( squinting eyes )Keenan Wynn? ( squints harder )..nooo...

  7. @Betsy: Recent photos ("recent" being post-high school) are few and far between, never mind videos! And I don't have recording facilities, even if I were brave enough to sing a capella on tape!

  8. THANKS, SF! :-) I've slumped from "infrequently-posting" to "barely perceptible." Will try to do better. (It would actually be interesting to know what kind of music people imagined as they read the lyrics...I wonder if others do give lyrics a tune in their head if they're not familiar with 'em...We had a chord organ book growing up that had "Whole Lotta Love" in it, and when I was seven I sang it kinda slowly, like a lounge song--was so surprised when I heard the real version later on.) It's time for me to reread "My Island"! I will definitely pack a lunch--I'm thinking...deviled eggs, potato salad, and some coconut cupcakes. Pippity!

  9. Subby: All my stuff is copyrighted. But other than performing some original songs in some of my bands, I never tried selling them. And the new avatar came from a British newspaper, IIRC. I've had it saved for a while. (Kinda like your latest avatar, dude!)

  10. @Sparkle: "Whole Lotta Love" as a lounge song...?!?! I'd love to hear that!

  11. Ahem...technically that was from the batch of photos from FLA( that Mom left down there over 30 years ago ). I'll bring by the faded copy, anon...

  12. i've got some old songs in my shoebox that make me wonder about my sanity back then...interesting glimpse into the shadows of your past...begging for more...glad you made it out alive.

  13. @Brian: Me, too. A few of my friends didn't, after I left what I often euphemistically called "the business." Plus there was my friend Roger, who was fatally shot when he was 23. The song I mentioned, "Ode to a Fallen Warrior" -- a private song written to the tune of Jackson Browne's "Song for Adam" -- was written for Roger.

  14. It's that 'angry young man' phase I mentioned! We all go throgh it, don't we? -Jayne

  15. @Jayne: So, when exactly did you go through your phase as an "angry young man?" Pre-op, I assume? ;-)

  16. didn't Billy Joel write a song about the 'Angry Young Man'? I think he said he was boring as hell! Hey that's kind of funny, isn't it? Was that really you he was singing about? Lol! Btw, love Paul Simon and the Beatles, so maybe this could have been a great hit!

  17. So, the Silver Fox has a noir side, eh? I should've guessed from the picture of Edgar in the sidebar listed as a subconscious role model. When I read those lyrics and then your decription of your life in your early 20s, I immediately thought of Stephen King's short story "My Pretty Pony" (it's in the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collection). Then I thought you might also have been the perfect protagonist for a Richard Bachman tale. (Yeah, I'm addicted to King. I admit it.)

    Thanks for this interesting peek into the psyche!

  18. What would Cliff Richard do?

  19. Everyone is entitled to young adult angst.

  20. I'm not sure exactly HOW you accomplished that Grant accent on a blog, but you did! Christmas Lullaby? How'd I miss this? He sings a Christmas song?

    Yeah, I guess you couldn't have been separated at birth, since you're younger than I am.

    I'm off to YouTube to take a listen of Mr. Grant...

  21. I was an angry young man once.... Really. It was when I was hanging with Ole Mick and the boys... Though I think the things you did wrong would make an interesting story. A la My Island.

  22. I sang your poem in my head to the Beatles song but when I'm at your place I always hum the theme to Charade.

  23. @Roy: A noir side indeed!

    @Kris: Cliff Richard... I get it! I get it!

    @Willow: Yup, I own it, on one of the Xmas LPs that the Grant department store chain used to put out.

    Ishat: A complete re-telling would land me in jail (several times over). No joke.

    Clever Pup: Oh, it's just reminiscent of the two tunes I mentioned. I didn't actually borrow either melody (although I did that for several songs in my younger days, songs that I had no intentions of performing publicly or selling).

  24. Now that was interesting! Amazing how many things are hidden in a person's soul and mind :)


  25. I knew you were a mafioso too!!and yeah your cover is gone,you know?lol
    Seriously,yes karma do exist,what my ancestors did I pay it now,I know.It goes further than this.Nice song,really deep.
    Have a nice day :)

  26. So many changes in our life's journey. With each step we learn how to be that surviver.

    Looking I'm thankful learning with the widom and knowledge aquired. On the other hand I miss that youthful zeal energy. That spark of determination to change my world.

    No, I don't think I lost it. it's just buried deep within. And with the right encouragement will show itself. I'd like to believethat I am better equipedto meet that challenge...nick

  27. I'm going to have to set aside some time to read My Island. I presume that link still works?

  28. Aww I wish you had put it to music. The Irish Mafia! Must go back and read some of your earlier posts, I guess we all have a few skeletons in the closed from back in the day.

    Defo put it to music and lob it on You Tube . .peleaaaaaaase?

  29. @Candie: I shudder to think that karma makes us pay for previous generations' actions as well as our own. Doesn't seem fair, really.

    @Megan: "I'm going to have to set aside some time to read My Island. I presume that link still works?"

    Yep. And at the end of each chapter, just click on "newer post." I'm my own worst critic, but this is one story of mine which I heartily recommend. (Plus, you get to learn all sorts of juicy facts about the "real" me, not the "Silver Fox" or the David of David'Z RantZ.)

    I ask one favor, however: Pleasepleaseplease feel free to leave a comment on any chapter(s) you feel deserving of receiving! One, two, all twenty-eight... I love the feedback on "My Island," because it is/was such a personal project. Please don't think "Oh, this was posted over a year ago, no sense commenting now."

    @Baino: Wow, a lot of you want to hear that damned song! I didn't expect this reaction, especially since I thought it was rather pretentious and overly dramatic...

    As I said in an earlier comment, I don't have recording facilities even if I did know how to post it to YouTube. (And if I did, I'd stay off-camera anyway.) But I don't play an instrument -- I was a singer in my younger days -- so I'd have to post it without accompaniment, too, and I'm far too hesitant to do that!

    Now, as far as my personal skeletons, I've shared relatively few on my blogs. Maybe the closest to "my true-life adventures" would be this multi-parter!l

  30. gloomy stuff indeed

    False Hope Smatterings sounds appealing, I think I'd have enjoyed that, at about that age...

  31. @Lettuce: "False Hope Smatterings sounds appealing..."

    Heh. Actually, looking back on that one thirty-two years later... it kinda sucked. ;-)

  32. Well, I don't know what to say to the rest of it all, but... I kinda liked the little song...

  33. Just getting around to blogs this week and I love this post, so very organic. So today I saw Bandslam and decided that I wanted to be in a band and then I read this coincidences!

  34. Who doesn't have those shadows! I had a serious attitude between the ages of 18-20...I was, for lack of a better word, everybody's worst nightmare...and I am embarrassed to say, I was quite proud of the fact. It came to a head with court dates and damages...(from what I can remember)BUT...they were purged from my system in time for me to ":make up for it". We grow up, we learn, we regret, and if we're lucky, we forgive and move on. I LOVED this write... and to sound like a typical commenter I can well relate. you know I'm gonna pry!!!! ;)


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