Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surprise, AZ

My grandmother passed away last night, and right now I'm in that strange expanse of time between a death and a funeral where I'm not sure where to proceed emotionally. I admit that I have spent entirely too much time in this in-between place, and I am not fond of it. It's worse than the wake and funeral and burial, and worse than the feeling that comes from all of that being done. As a result of being in this state, I'm not sure what to say, but I needed to say something. So I'm going to post the lyrics to a song (I can't find a link to the actual song) that I listened to a lot after my mom died, and the version I listened to so much was a cover of this song that just absolutely destroyed me every time I heard it, and when I say "destroyed," I just mean that it affected me so deeply that I was moved to tears. So here are the lyrics, written by Richard Buckner, and the cover, if you care to find it, is by Cynthia G. Mason and appeared on the Believer magazine 2005 music issue.

"Surprise, AZ"

"Mother, do you see
what's about to happen?
I'm gonna turn us around,
and we'll be gone.
Put your arms up, dear,
and they'll keep the casket open
when they take us back to Oklahoma,
where we belong.
Surprise, Arizona,
put us out of our sweet misery.

In '34, you were 21.
You know, he told me once
that he knew
when he first saw you.
But were you happy then?
I'd like to know.
I think about it still
when I see you alone.
Surprise, Arizona,
put us out of our sweet misery.

And you knew about me, at only 23.
You saw her come and go
as I went through
everything I had.
But mother did you see
what was gonna happen?
She let me down so far,
I never quite made it back.
Surprise, Arizona,
put us out of our sweet misery."

I don't know what it means, but I know it has a blues that I felt and still feel.

1 comment:

Loren said...

That song is so beautiful, makes me cry, too.