Bono’s got that look in his eye again. A ‘glint” I suppose – glint … Glint … what is that – the etymology I’m dreaming up goes back to something stemming from some strange light that’s damned and beautiful and egomaniacal. Only the eyes of an egomaniac could have a glint. Strange word strange world. Bono at this time kinda looks like Al Pacino in Godfather 3, actually. That really was quite a good movie. Got a tough break. Always hard to follow up a masterpiece. Somehow he’s managed to slip away from me and climb his stubby little legs up this ladder to perch on top of an old gun turret – a guard post abandoned long ago outside of Templehof Airport in Berlin, Germany.
We have been running for eternity, me and Bono. Running out of instinct, out of desperation and need. I am gripped by fear and a sense of impending doom. The sky has turned dark with storm clouds – tornado sirens wail in the distance. I’ve been trying to keep us moving, pushing us on out of harm’s reach but now we’ve stopped.
I am emotionally and physically exhausted, the temperamental genius on the other hand seems just ducky and hell bent on disaster. In the distance just beyond eyesight now there is a battalion or squadron or some very large amount of VP’s. The Volkspolizei – people’s police – they may be for the people but they are quite against me and Bono at the moment.
They have been rabidly hunting us though we have managed to break free of them giving ourselves a moment’s peace. I am hunched over catching my breath – my sides are aching and my lungs are on fire. Spit flies out as I scream at the ground,
Jesus Christ Bono you’re such a fucking asshole!!
For as much doom and fear and sorrow as I feel, this serene fucker don’t seem to have a care in the world.
*Bono btw is the iconic lead singer of the rock and roll band U2. He is most himself when in front of tens of thousands of people and making it seem like he’s playing a show in his basement. Ranked 32 on Rolling Stones list of 100 best singers he has 14 studio albums, 22 Grammys, 33 UK top 10’s and in addition is one of the world’s leading – it must be said with a capital H – umanitarians.
‘LIFT YOUR PEOPLE UP!‘ – Bono now taking things up a notch apparently, has a large Red, White and Blue megaphone with the stars and stripes and whole bit held up to his mouth and he is sonically booming the words ‘LIFT YOUR PEOPLE UP!‘ into the impending storm.
Holding the speaker up and pressing the trigger with his left hand while in his right hand he has an extraordinarily large ziploc bag of White powder.
Now this mystery bag does indeed seem to have something to do with why we are currently on the run from the Po Po but I feel it is not exclusively responsible, it is all vague and hazy but I can say definitively it has not helped matters in any way.
‘Jesus Christ Bono you’re such a fucking asshole’ – I say again looking up at him this time and almost muttering it to myself. I have a sudden light headed rush that leaves me dizzy and I zone out looking at his pants. For an extended serene moment I stare at his legs trying to see if they are black denim or proper pants.
Denim. Also sounds strange. de – nimes from the French serge de Nîmes, meaning ‘serge from Nîmes’. O’l Serge THE BASTARD – by the 1950’s 90 percent of Americans were wearing his jams. The great Denim takeover had occurred, zippers and all. No one wears pants or ties or anything these days. All jeans and sweats. The end of Western Civilization …
‘LIFT YOUR PEOPLE UP!!!’ – Bono screams again. He has climbed the railing and is standing precariously in these Gold YSL Beatle boots that I’m now wondering how the hell he has been running in all this time and also realize will get ruined in the rain – and the hits just keep on coming damn it! These boots are just fucking incredible. The thing about them is the simplicity. The beauty of the line. Python embossed leather, pointed toe with Western stitching along the throat with pull tab and 1.2” stacked heel. Calf skin, embossed leather, GOLD and interior pull zipper. Made in Italy. fuuuuuuuck. YSL had this chap Hedi Slimane designing for them and the chap was just channeling Gold dust for a decade …
‘Damn it Bono get down from there !’ I’m yelling up at him. ‘You damn fool !!!” as I say this I turn and see the cops spotting us in the distance –
‘LIFT YOUR PEOPLE UP!’ he says as he buries his giant nose and most of his face into this freezer bag of pow pow. ‘Jesus Christ Bono!’ I yell realizing he and I are really starting to sound like a broken record. I bound up the ladder and grab him. I’m trying to yank him down but his hands are full – i manage to free his hand from the megaphone which is attached to a strap around his neck and swings free – we tangle up there…his one hand grabbing me as the other holds the bag safely level. I’m trying to yank the bag from him and get him to climb down and get back to running.
“fuck off – I wrote ‘One’ you cunt what the fuck have you ever done “ – he says angrily as we push and shove and grapple.
He is right of course – the man wrote One, With or Without You , Sunday Bloody Sunday, he’s been fighting AIDS, raising money for charities, chatting up the IMF – but now is not the time for arguments or self loathing – we fight on.
Over the railing we go falling together holding each other. Me Bono the megaphone the rain and the sparkling white powder falling in slow motion, seeming to float down through time and space as the heavens open and the downpour begins.
Hitting the ground hurts not a bit. It just bounces us up like a trampoline – we bounce up and begin to run – for the police are close. My chest feels tight with anxiety and fear from being in an irreversible mess.
We are running over cobblestone and brick and concrete and grass down narrow old streets.
We sprint blindly in zero visibility – running like the wind – like there are wolves after us and our mouths taste like pennies. Rain pounding us sideways we turn a corner and Bono grabs me pulling me through an open door into this abandoned building and slams the door shut behind us.
Inside now hunched over panting and drenched, drained, sopping wet we look up. Looking around we see it is a large old warehouse connected into a bar/dance hall. There are a couple of giant chandeliers all dusty hanging very far down from the high high ceiling. A giant open wooden floor with two of the far walls lined with bars and giant mirrors and chairs and tables all stacked to the side and abandoned. The outside world and its complex and eternal conflicts disappears.
Bono recovers quickly. He is looking at himself in the mirror. He is singing very low to himself almost humming but you can feel the soul. He starts to sway side to side and slowly he starts to dance – twirling around arms stretched out, fingertips extended, megaphone thrown around his shoulder.
I stand up waltzing around the room as well letting my arms and fingertips both fully extend into gravity’s dependable grasp – he’s reaching out into the air spinning around and around…head back singing – glasses on. We are for a moment just two of those propeller leaves that float down from the trees and helicopter to the ground every Fall.
All goes quiet and there’s just silence. The sudden nature and profound depth of this silence is severe. The rain, the sirens, the police, the streets, the singing, the sound of our boots on the wood floor, the hum of machinery and electricity howling through ancient wire all stops – you could hear only the high frequency of the central nervous system and the low beating of the heart – the eternal drum and melody.
After some time I look at Bono and he has changed completely – mutated before my eyes into young Bono – Mullet Bono – eternal youth and sleepless white T’s and dangerously climbing to the tops of stages holding Irish flags with boundless energy and the early days of music videos and MTV – and the wrinkles and weird grandpa walk are gone and young Bono of the late 70’s starts to speak through with a heavy Irish accent he begins to emanate forth – radiating – transcendent – seemingly floating on air – young eternal and beautiful.
Young Bono Speaks:
“the QWERTY Keyboard is leading your thoughts and sentence structure. You are not in control. Someone else is influencing you from afar. If only the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard had won out instead and you didn’t have to travel such distance between letters. There’s too many options too many ways things could have gone for you not to know deep down they had to have led you here. If you could write in a language that moved right to left or up and down, and these letters and symbols and the finality of a dot didn’t feel so arbitrary, then you think you could find it. Then you’d be in business. You feel you need a better understanding of so many things in order to create this thing you keep guessing at. You just got to know how all those people got all the those laugh lines – you need the details – the origins – the ANSWERS eh?
So you start messing around trying to get at it. Ya take up exercising and drinking clear alcohols and sprout juice and meditating with the radio and television blaring, experimenting with mullets and loud colors and Mom’s jeans and ya find drugs and sex and ya drive cross country and rage all night and its fun fun fun till daddy takes the T Bird away.
Yet always, always there’s this thing missing that makes it all somewhat unsatisfying. Somewhat detached as if you were experiencing it secondhand and no matter how hard you try you can’t get close enough – it seems to forever elude you – just out of touch.
So many anthems that the anthem loses the qualities that make it anthemic in the first place.
Ideas shimmer like love and disappear like lust.
And I know It feels good to be anything you want for a while—feels good to be drunk and live and forget and remember. It feels good to begin sentences with the word ‘and’ no matter what EB White & Strunks say – steal what you want take what you will. Ya wanna set it on fire son, want to watch it burn Eh?
The same questions the same fears always come creeping back in don’t they? In the mornings when the light streams in the corner of the window and sets all the dust particles ablaze. When your head is on fire and the great void enters your spirit and darkens your heart and the cycle begins again and there’s nothing new under the sun. When all seems to end and turn to loss and sorrow.
Remember. You must uncover yourself. Recover your sense of humor, your curiosity. Look up, look around you, reach out – find yourself— have a bit of faith. Lift your people up!”
And he stops and the sounds from the world come back. All the rain and pipes and sirens and community and all thats been built from the tribes merging and forming governing bodies that build and legislate and defend and produce and construct and fight and love and bury their dead and mourn together. The noises created from this – the echo of the light of thousands upon thousands of multitudes of families searching and yearning and struggling towards an idea they dreamed of once long ago.
And for the first time in a long long time I start to cry. I allow the tears to come, without holding back without fear without judgment without the pretense of masculinity I am able to just let go – to just be someone who cries and feels and lives and will eventually die. Things like this could happen and things can go on and it happens to be beyond my control and maybe just maybe that can be alright, and maybe it’s not my fault.
We start dancing, swaying to the mass mouthpiece – doing the Irish jig across the abandoned dance floor of what was once West Berlin, Bono and me crying free tears of forgiveness and salvation.
Lift your people up.