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Monday, September 13, 2010

Angel In The Snow

In June and July of 2002, I thought it would be a good idea to get a residency at the Cafe Montmarte in Vancouver (I was living there at the time) and jam out new material for my fifth album and so every Wednesday became Cabaret Contraire where various permutations of the RALPH band went through two sets of mostly new sonic experiments, each week taking the new works down different paths until we had lived in a song's skin and figured out its voice.

We were fortunate to have had all these jams recorded professionally by legendary Vancouver psych pioneer Don Xaliman (Melodic Energy Commission) and that September, we performed the best of these new songs in a blistering set on the main stage at Word On The Street Vancouver (with Veda Hille sitting in on keyboards).

However, the album never got recorded and the songs disappeared into the ether. In August of that year, my mother passed away and I could no longer relate to the lyrics and writings and questioned in many ways the why and what for of everything I was doing. One or two of these lost songs did re-surface eventually and it has only been lately that i've found some of the handwritten lyrics still scratched up and words crossed out and words added during that two month run.... and begun the process of moving forward again into something new.

This is one that I could never find the gravity for and I maybe I still haven't but I've recently rewritten it from scratch knowing what I know now and staying true to the original heart of it, especially now that I am back in Montreal and the glorious snow of my youth.

Angel In The Snow

Some people are superstitious about the 13th floor
But I can see the Cross
the big giant cross on the mountain
all lit up and beaming its light
and all the icicles sparkling and swaying on the power lines
winter chimes
except for the wind whistling
through them and up
and around me
here, 3am
the perfect time
the time when every street is
a still picture, painted from memory
everything winter white
like the wings of angels
soaring through heaven

The 10th floor
is where I can see the neon of
my favourite diner
two eggs, sunny side up, brown toast
coffee, juice, and rice pudding for dessert
I can see the cook starting his shift
A stocky man with burly arms
at 5:30am he will open the door
and the taxi drivers will rush in for breakfast

The 7th floor
is level with the windows of the artist loft
sometimes his model will lean out the window
at mid-afternoon
wrapped in a towel
and smoking a cigarette
looking out at the cobblestone streets
oblivious to the whirlwind of
bodies below
noticing me spying on her
sometimes not

The 6th floor is
parallel to the bookstore roof
In the summer, the owner and his wife
sit up there in the evenings
with a bottle of wine and books and smokes
everyone still smokes
don't listen to what everybody says
they're all liars
and who knows what they're thinking
I don't
or what books

But I am past the 5th floor now
This is where I used to live in this building
I had to give up my apartment after you left
I got lucky
there was a smaller one a lot cheaper on the top floor
It was tough without furniture for a while
but I figured it out

The 3rd floor is where the landlord lives
A friendly guy
Always there
Not really sure if he's married or what
A different woman seems to answer the door
everytime I've gone there, or maybe
it's the same woman
with a wig
but I doubt it
maybe it's him dressed up
they weren't very good looking now that
I think about it more

The 3rd floor means the 2nd floor
and I don't want that one to be a blur
because the psychic woman lives on the 2nd floor
she's always wrong about everything
she's ever tried to predict for me

But it would be great if she saw me
right now
so that in the morning
she can take all the credit
and let everyone know

That sound that woke everyone up
That was me
On my way to heaven
But right now
I'm just an angel in the snow

© 2010 Ralph Alfonso