Monday, April 20, 2009

The Last Song Syndrome 8: Hurt (Johnny Cash); It's All About The Current State Of Affairs

"I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real" - Johnny Cash
Today I received an email from a friend. (Thank you, G.) The attachment contains a song by Johnny Cash, a song that, according to the sender, reminded her of me. I hurriedly downloaded the digital file.

There it was, Johnny Cash's somewhat tortured baritone, clearly enunciating the words to the song.

"My sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all

my empire of dirt..."

I got a little giddy listening (good thing no one was physically around, I probably looked silly swaying unsteadily while seated on the bed), it was all getting swirly in some dark whirlpool. Then I remembered, I heard this song before, in a not-so-distant past, and I got the same sensation. Indeed. As I found out hours later, Johnny's "Hurt" is a 2002 cover of Nine Inch Nails' 1994 song, which just as anguished and haunting.

The song has long been subject to numerous interpretations, mostly alluding to drug use. For me, however, the line "The needles tear a hole" assumed an entirely different meaning. This particular line took me back to the ICU some 17 days ago, in a cubicle filled with beeps, monitors, and the sickening smell of dried blood. And again, I heard one of those memorable lines off one of our conversations, which went more or less this way.

"My arms are now filled with needle marks from blood extractions...I feel violated."

(And now I try to shut that memory off, again. For it sounded funny in a dark way then, and now it sounds like a very sick joke.)

The song is not just about me. It's about him, and the current state of affairs....

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