Chorus and Verse
James Dalton
Chorus and Verse Blog
Posted: October 26, 2009 07:20 am (-05:00)
James Dalton
Judy Collins

Judy Collins

There was a time when I was younger, I was kicked out of my first college, somewhere in North Carolina, and, at some point, I was standing in a flea market, somewhere, maybe before or maybe after the whole thing went down, maybe that week, or maybe years later, somewhere near rocky mount, at some flea market or some thrift shop, knowing there was a record player at home, something drew me to some Judy Collins records.

Maybe because the cover featured her in some very natural sun-shining surround with her beautiful face reaching out, peacefully, maybe it was the lighter colors, maybe it was the day, maybe I was crazy or just suddenly tuned in, but I picked up the pair of her records that somehow stood on their own, on a table, or a shelf, or outside leaning against the thrift shop doorway, a little dusty in the Carolina sun, in some such season that gave such strange peaceful gifts to boys going down the wrong paths.

These records made it home to Jersey, some strange I-95 or Amtrak journey, alone or with a group of awkward smoking buddies.

There was this day, that I listened to them and I was frozen, I was motionless, everything about me was nothing. My hair was wrong, arms, legs, useless, not good enough, there was some woman, some light-haired peaceful beauty, singing about a girl named Suzanne who's half crazy and showing me things, teaching me about love, but I am too young to listen or to get it, I just know this, that I myself don't feel I have love to give, nothing to offer, I am not perfect, I am broken and sad, a lonely little boy that parades himself otherwise, I embarrass my father and I let my mother down, I am nothing, that I don't know love at all, that I am some sort of failure at such a young age, and this Judy keeps singing to me, and I am still motionless in my room half gazing out the windows at the moving trains in the distance, past the marsh and the birds in the soft Jersey sunshine.

When it is time to flip the record, I don't, instead to play this song about the girl that leads me to the river, this Suzanne that leads me to a life of some embarrassed happiness, some awkward teary-eyed and confused treatment, it is Suzanne that I see, but, Judy, it is you, and maybe it was always you, and now these years later, as you sing about the lady who leads me to the river adorned in rags and feathers, it was always you that I sought after, it was always you that I loved, and as your voice comes to me like so many topsy turvy years ago, I am motionless but, this time, maybe I am not so much the nothing, now, I do know what I have to give.

James Dalton
James Dalton is a New Jersey-based singer/songwriter/performer that has had his ups and downs but still pushes forward and stuff.
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