Lyric of the Week: ROMANCE, PART TWO
When you gave me your look I went after you
As if it was my last chance
Like all men without women, I played the fool
But it turned into romance.
Hanging at the shore, down from the island
Some late November night
When you sauntered in and set the feathers flying
Just itching for a playful fight
Well that itch got scratched and I managed to catch
Those signals you were sending out so strong
We wound up at the piano and the chords they crashed
As you heard me sing my song.
Another day, another hundred dollars
They all swirl down the drain
You say you’re sick and tired of banging your head on my wall
To figure out what’s going on in my brain.
You swore it would be just a couple hours, maybe
Nine o’clock you’d be by my side
Now it’s somewhere between one and two
And I start to wonder if maybe you’ve died
I toss like cookies and turn like tricks
Spinning images till I’m all out of breath
Turning things over like some talking head on TV
Each spin turning me closer to death.
Now I’m laying in bed staring up at the ceiling
Wondering how this is gonna end
And when you come through that door you’ll be mumbling something
About talking Kabbalah with your friends.
I work all day keeping the numbers up
As I catalog 50,000 tales from hell
Making sure that the past is preserved for the future
Once no one in the present’s left to tell
When this knock down hair pull day is over
I look forward to being with you
But when I call you up to let you know I’m on my way home
You tell me you got better things to do.
How the hell did it come down to this
How’d we ever let it get this way
You say it’s so easy for you to let go
But I’ll move mountains to get you to stay!
©2022 The Hesh Inc.
This is at once the second part, the sequel, and the remake of my old song, "Romance Part One," which I had written in my teens. But whereas in Part One the singer/protagonist is addressing his late-adolescent love interest and the games she is playing with him while he pursues her around Jerusalem, Part Two sees him married, living in Los Angeles, and wondering why his wife is playing similar (worse, even) idiotic games as she metamorphoses into some psycho-spiritual thing.
I wrote it when my marriage was running onto the rocks on the West Coast. I had essentially followed my second wife and her medical career all over the country, believing that a move out west would renew and reinvigorate our love life that had become stagnant as she went through medical school and residency in New Jersey. But instead of renewing and reinvigorating us, she took the opportunity to reinvent herself, positioning herself as a sort of new-age guru figure and surrounding herself with a circle of sycophants who fed that self-perception. I saw right through it and wanted none of it, but rather than take to heart that her husband, who still loved her, wanted his beloved wife back, she doubled and tripled down, closing the circle around herself and shutting me (and anyone else in the community who saw through this nonsense) out. The divorce would inevitably happen about half a year later—we didn't even last a year in LA—but these lyrics capture the moment of that disbelief and desperation when everything is starting to go to pieces in a way that the singer can't manage.
I played the song live exactly once, as a duo with my musical partner Izzy Kieffer at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar, when I visited the Jersey Shore during that same dreadful summer when these events were happening on the opposite coast. Later on I included it in my song cycle JRZguyinLA, a projected album that tells the story of my time in LA and everything that went down there. If the stars align the way I would like, I will yet record it.