I had a cassette tape of that performance that I played so much I could make Paul’s same cracks about the joints circulating in the audience as he made, with his exact timing and intonation.
I found it so touching, earlier this week, to see how many people have the lyrics to their songs memorized. Somebody posted the following verse on Facebook the other day when she read what I had written about the duo and to me it conveys perfcectly the poignant quality of their work. Bet you know it too:
“Toss me a cigarette, I think there’s one in my raincoat”
“We smoked the last one an hour ago”
So I looked at the scenery. She read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America , America
But what is this America that we should seek her so? A dream? If so, it is a dream owned by no one man, or woman or political party. An idea, like the green light on the end dock that Jay Gatsby so yearns to reach out and touch, standing at the edge of his own raw and ostentatious gardens? Though really it was the golden girl just back from that green light whom Gatsby loved, not for herself but for the way he looked to himself when he saw his reflection in her eyes.
It’s that way with our country: the dream of what America is has sometimes made us seem better to our paltry human selves than we actually are; has made us believe we can BE better, and at times we have been. It’s an aspiration that children understand instinctively, harboring in their own hearts an idealism we are meant to foster in them and not cynically stamp out.
Anyway let’s listen together in a minute and reflect that being lost and knowing you’re lost can be the best first step to finding a truer path…