Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review: My Favorite Words

2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival | Photo by Jason Gonulsen

I'm sitting here today with a big old bloody bandage on my head, the result of a second surgery in 2014 to repair a ruptured ear drum. The new few weeks will be unpleasant, but really, all I can think of is how much this year taught me to be alive. It was, undoubtedly, the best year of my life -- because of wonderful, unplanned moments, and because of struggle.

I want both, and I hope these emotions continue to find me. I think we spend too much time comparing our struggles -- that his or hers is greater than ours. But it's pointless to compare. We all must fight, no matter how privileged we are or aren't. There is no excuse to give up. There is every excuse to show kindness.

Music, to me, is obviously very special, and most of the time I focus on lyrics. In 2014, I was privileged to see performances by Neil Young, Josh Ritter, Glen Hansard, Jeff Tweedy, Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, to name a few. 2014 has taken me to Louisville, Austin, Chicago, and Columbia, Missouri. I remember the moments. I remember the words.

Here are some of my favorite words of 2014.

Jason Gonulsen
December 31st, 2014

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Open up your eyes, look to the sky,
You’ll see a rainbow,
That’s the bridge you crossed,
On your way to your new life.
Breathe in, breathe out,
Let the color rays pass through you.
Red, orange, yellow, green,
Turquoise, indigo, purple.
Now do you see where your home is?
Do you remember who you are?
Life’s longing for itself,
Your wish made upon a star.

You can have whatever you can dream of.

Oh, hey,
I wasn't listening
I was watching Syria blinded by the sunshine strip
You, you were in the kitchen
Oh, your mariner’s mouth the wounded with the wounder's whip

And that's how summer passed oh,
The great divide and range of green green grass
Oh, maybe it was peace at last, who knew

Hello love, my invincible friend
Hello love, the thistle and the burr
Hello love, for you I have so many words
But I, I forget where we were

I’m your MRI
Show you what’s going on inside
I’m your ATM
Take what you like my supply won’t end
I’m your MP3
I get sad when you don’t pay for me
I’m your IED
Carry me very carefully

I quit my dreaming the moment that I found you
I started dancing just to be around you
Here's to thinking that it all meant so much more
I kept my mouth shut and opened up the door

I met you when your hair was short and my ego had barely formed
It took a jug of wine just to ask you home
We took black and white pictures, with your hooded sweatshirt on
We were beautiful, broken, and young

How long do I have here with you?
How long do I have here with you?
How long?

But we can't take back what is done, what is past
So fellers, lay down your spears
'Cause we can't take back what is done, what is past
So let us start from here

And if all that you are is not all you desire, then come
Come, come along
Come with fears, come with love
Come however you are

Just come, come along
Come with friends, come with faults
Come however you are

Just come, come along
Come with me, and let go
Come however you are

Just come, come along
Come so carefully close
Come however you are
Just come

Come, come along
Como with sorrows and songs
Come however you are

Just come, come along
Come with yourself
Come however you are

I wanna learn how to love
Not just the feeling
Bear all the consequences
I wanna learn how to love
And give it all back
Forgive me all that I've done

An anthem for the real reward
The sometimes broke and bent before
Where hope is lost and winter birds
Float from the wires when shots are heard
An anthem for my mother's arms
The bravest walk, the big alarm
The boxers, cops and soldiers too
The ones who need no gratitude

You've been out in the street
Talkin' about the war with me
And the background is at night
Don't want to hesitate
Will they tell me where you're hiding?
But through the haze there's no one there
Wondering if you care
Callin' your name in the darkness

When I'm done with my time here
I'm going to keep staying strong
Through the railways
But I never mind going
And I realize now that the road is bare
And I hear it all through the grand parade

And I don't mind you disappearing
'Cause I know you can be found
Maybe livin' on the dark side of the street, damn
When we're livin' in the moment and losing our grasp
Making it last with the grand parade in our past

Love every song that I know
You ask me well how so
Strange I can't defend
I love how every song ends