Happy Valentine's Day: Little Trip To Heaven, Music & Lyrics By Tom Waits
We all of us have big secrets which finally need to be unburdened, and here is one of mine. I am quite possibly the most undeserving man alive. I've been incredibly lucky in love and that's no lie. Casanova has nothing on me, and he does in raw numbers but I'll never trade. If you've ever seen how I look, you would be strongly inclined to agree, but it's not so much about the looks if you're a man, as Casanova knew. You've heard how the Hunchback won the heart of a woman whose ass when she walked recalled the bells he rang at Notre Dame. I can confess proofs and pearls of greater price, but there's only one nobody can deny. There's a beautiful woman who gladly somehow suffers the indignities of being married to me. And she gave me overwhelming sons who have it in them to run this world well.
Valentine's Day. I don't care where it came from, it's a wonderful tradition. Tom Waits went to the trouble, a few times, of writing love songs, and this one praises a girl in his long-ago past. He went on a quest over the same mountains and emotional mine fields as me, the trip I set out on to meet my wife. He's a better writer, a poet who could use his gift to any purpose but in short, like Tom, I was once Big in Japan. His wife's name is Kathleen Brennan, she helps him write all his music, she's the source in the percussion credits who designated an instrument: "man beating shit out of wardrobe." She's his soul-mate and they're inseparable, mother of his kids. An ipso facto great woman, because Tom used to have a Jersey girl named Rickie Lee Jones wrapped tight around his finger and his legs and for sure there are a lot more back there than her.
I've taken great amusement in poking fun at your species, ladies, and know your foibles intimately. I know your best and less than charitable desires because I've studied you like an obsessed bird watcher might inculcate the behaviors of lost auklettes which have not been spotted alive for a hundred and seventy-five years. I've done enough things to provoke your worst, received your repercussions, and I know exactly why Jack Nicholson and Khalil Gibran paused to say: Let there be spaces in your togetherness. Amongst my sins, I would never say I loved you until cursing you in vain, denied getting wet in the rain, and shut off my heart's yearnings until I almost went insane. But the truth is, I still think my wife and women like her hung the moon up in the sky that's shining tonight. I manifestly do not need to take a trip to outer space. All I need to do is look at her face.
In ancient times, princesses were known amongst tribes as "the bringers of peace." One girl's or one woman's beauty often could and did stop wars, and their heroic achievements went largely unrewarded, almost entirely unrecorded. I am eternally grateful to those hidden histories, being a flawed man of immense physical and spiritual appetites who can in return hear hints and echoes of significance. When I drove home from my high school sweetheart's house back through the town, I knew I was partaking magic as a mere prop in a show much, much larger than me. I felt its power. More gratefully, more gradually and consciously now, I know for certain-fact that one mind-blowing woman can come along, a miracle who renews your faith in an improbable God.
There are gifts of love more precious, if you've ever known the hardships of a spiritual life, than gravity itself. I've known those gifts in concrete floors in jails praying on my knees, I've pleaded for souls and played Texas Hold 'Em all night with eternity. Over twenty years ago. Everything comes back, and you don't need to send flowers, just flames. If perchance you see your Valentine on the downtown train you must have the courage to point at her and say "You."
Believe, believe a little, or believe in none of what's above, just believe that it behooves us all to become better men. Believe in the goodness of women. Fortunately, almost all of them are suckers for a box of chocolate and a long-stemmed rose, and if the chocolate is Swiss you might share it for breakfast. Either way, I'm happy, I'm in love, I'm dealing what I've learned on down to progenies and this post is guaranteed to get me laid. (Had me a girl from New York, she up and pulled my cork.)
We may all be stuck here on the ground, and time can't be un-sequenced, but I'm not afraid to thank God in his inaccessible dimensions. When loving is your weakness, you're bound to get caught sooner or later. I don't know what's what, I have no reliable map of the universe, but I'll thank the Muses and the Furies for my love's spirit because, burning charges of thermite, she will always be she, and fused right down into me.
I remember all the sacred, I remember all the profane. Tom Waits sings in another of his innocent and elementary songs, "I'll be your Dick, honey, if you'll be my Jane." I tip my bowler hat, adjust my sequined blue jacket, and calmly look down at the arrows sticking out of my beating heart. Happy Valentine's Day:
Little trip to heaven on the wings of your love
Banana moon is shining in the sky
I feel like I'm in heaven when you're with me
I know that I'm in heaven when you smile
Though we're stuck here on the ground
I got something that I've found, and it's you
I don't need to take no trip to outer space
All I have to do is look at your face
And before I know it I'm in orbit around you
Thanking my lucky stars that I found you
When I see your constellation, you are my inspiration
And it's you
You're my North Star when I'm lost and feeling blue
You're my sun that's breaking through, it's true
And all the other stars seem dim around you
I thank my lucky stars I found you
When I see your smilin' face
I know nothing's gonna take your place
And it's you, and it's you, and it's you,
and it's you, and it's you, and it's you