Howdy, friends, ever bought a digital album from a dead man?
“Lately I tend to make strangers wherever I go / Some of them were once people I was happy to know”
In my estimation, if you ever write a line that good for the rest of your life, it was more or less worth it. David’s death coinciding with the release of this album reminds me a bit of some anecdote from Camus about a young author who wrote a novel then (in part) killed himself to promote it. The joke is that it did get the attention of the newspapers but the work itself was universally panned.
Unlike this dead fellow, Purple Mountain’s self title release is superb. The parallel is only the timing, the creative act, and the demise. I also greatly enjoy Berman’s poetry, like this from 1999’s Actual Air:
Walking through a field with my little brother Seth
I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.
He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.
Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.
Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.
I didn’t know where I was going with this.
They were on his property, I said.
When it’s snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.
Today I traded hellos with my neighbor
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.
We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.
But why were they on his property, he asked.