Monday, October 8, 2012

The Silence

It is estimated that more than 47,000 have been killed in Mexico to control the drug supply to the United States. For a situation of such magnitude, so close to us, and with so much culpability to spread around, it astounds me how little we hear or talk about it.

I have wanted to write about this ghastly subject for a long time but could not find a way in.
Last Fall my wife, son and I met and lunched with the great Mexican American writer Richard Rodriguez. When I presented my dilemma he referred me to the poetry of Emily Dickinson.
In a collection I found a poem that she wrote about a shipwreck that begins 'Glee! the great storm is over!' In that poem I found my template and tone. I wrote the verses and later the melody that suited the solemn subject. Later in the studio we attempted to create a stark sonic landscape that framed the song.

David Hidalgo sings the lead in his inimitable, compassionate voice. Linda Ronstadt, our friend and mentor, introduced us to Jackson Browne with the idea of having him sing in duet with David, a brilliant idea. He graciously agreed.

I hope that The Silence provokes at least some degree of reflection on the agony and fear that Mexico has suffered. And for what?

The Silence

Dance when the storm is over
Sing when torment's passed
Sigh when fists of tortured death
Release this arid land
Mourn the tens of thousands
Pray for the grieving shell
Bless the cursed noble womb
That bore a muted hell
How will we spin this tale
Tongues free from fear at last
Answers to our children
When they ask us what has passed
When silence breaks from telling
And finally we can cry
What will we reveal then
When they ask us why
They ask us why