Miss Daisy Hawkins
(inspired by a song about a melody-line-of-a name, and what you can’t tell someone when you turn out the lights)
Dear Apollo C. Vermouth:
I heard “Miss Daisy Hawkins” recently at a Red Lobster in Clear Lake, Iowa.
The server played the song, your song, for me. On a glockenspiel.
In the shimmer and ting, I heard the color of you. The color of you, writing “Miss Daisy Hawkins”. That pealing color. A shade of Tumbleweed Blue.
It’s the color of you, you when you were having trouble with the lyric. When you left your piano bench and tossed out a request to some of us in the recording studio — an acting coach, an acting actuary, an actor’s actor, a sheepdog, and me, the only other fucking songwriter in the room. On your way out to do an interview or something, you said, and said casually: Okay lads, it’s just about there — finish it up, then?
At Red Lobster, I heard it again, that tossed-out tone, in the glockenspieled hue. That tousled blue. I heard it while sampling the bacon-wrapped sea scallops.
I get it: It had to be hard to ask me directly for help at that point in our songwriting partnership. What’s that quote about two saints meeting — the humbling, or whatever? But! I mean! Who else was going to finish it up? The sheepdog? To be fair, she had the best pop sensibility of the lot of us. Besides, she agreed with me: You should have kept lyric the way you had it — you should have called him Father McCartney.
Yes, “Miss Daisy Hawkins” is a good song. A great song. Pure craft. As I last week told the in-house fiddler at the Golden Corral who serenaded me with the song on his Tumbleweed Blue Stradivarius: “‘Daisy Hawkins’ is fantastic, it’s beautiful, but it’s my ex-fiancé Paul’s song and thank god I didn’t write it.”
Except I sort of did. I finished it up. Me and the sheepdog.
In darkness as I am in light, speechless as a campaigning saint, I remain,
(inspired by a song about a sound only an imaginary friend can hear)
Thank you for taking me to the heart of the country. To the Monkberry moon. To Junior’s Farm.
For taking me in.
For helping me out.
For considering me an inspiration.
For sending me that personal message at the end of that song. (I know I’m supposed to be the only one who can hear it, but I never could. I so appreciate the gesture, though.)
I realize my social anxiety keeps me (or is it you?) singing the blues, and I imagine I haven’t always been there for you, but me and my shagginess are trying. We really are.
I want to be a better friend to you. I really do.
I promise I will try to hold my head up so I have the option of seeing what’s real. But it will always be very, very hard for me to see what you see. To see what I’ve done.
Your humble sheepdog,
You Won’t See Me
(inspired by a song about misreading between the lines)
Remember the time we both wore raincoats on a sunny sunny day and you said See? And I said: No? Because we don’t — we don’t see things the same way.
I know, I know — it can be pretty to think so. But! Gotta keep it real, Sis!
I tell you this because I sometimes feel like a filament of your imagination.
Not that that’s a bad thing. Filaments can be fun! And nothing’s more real, to me, than imagined things.
But someday I will fall in love, fall and fall hard, and I might be unrecognizable to you while I’m falling. I might keep falling, something might break, many things might break, and as they break, the line between real and imagined will blur blur blur and you won’t see me. The real me, the imagined me, any me.
Falling-breaking me will be okay with this. Will you?
Keeping it realish since … well … since,
Pat Foran recorded a version of an unreleased Beatles track (“Watching Rainbows”) to accompany these pieces, but included a sample of “Nutopian International Anthem” instead. His work has appeared in various journals. Find him at http://neutralspaces.co/your_patforan/ and on Twitter at @pdforan.