Saturday, April 04, 2009

Out of my head

I grew up on gospel music and whatever country leaked into my ears from the radio or from passing by the living room when my father was watching "Louisiana Hayride," Porter Wagoner or Red Foley on television. Then I went to see "The Graduate" and things started to change. Still not sure what it all meant, but it sure was different:

Hello, darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seed while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains, within the sounds of silence.

In restless dreams I walked alone,
Narrow streets of cobblestone.
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light,
That split the night, and touched the sounds of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
10,000 people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never shared,
No one dared disturb the sounds of silence.

Fools, said I, you do not know,
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you,
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence.

And the people bowed and prayed
To a neon God they'd made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls,
And in the sounds of silence."

1 comment:

Mark T said...

I used worked a graveyard shift in a grocery store during the 70's with two gay guys - gay when it wasn't talked about, but these guys were pretty open about it. They told me all kinds of inside entertainment stuff (who in Hollywood and in music was closet gay). Much of it turned out to be false. But they said that both Simon and Garfunkle were gay, and that Sounds of Silence was about living a gay life in the closet.

I asked my co-workers how they could tell when someone was gay - they said there were a thousand little signs that were silently passed back and forth - a flip of a matchbook cover, a tap of the shoe, a casual glance or touch.

I was very young, it shook me up pretty good. Anyway, I don't know the sexual orientation of either Simon or Garfunkle, but the song (mostly) makes sense that way.