Lyrics written and composed by Margo and Michael Timmons, and copyright 1988, The Cowboy Junkies. The song Misguided Angel can be found on The Trinity Sessions
They were the wild days. A time when anything was possible and he usually insured that it was. He received the invitation and accepted, although he never made the acceptance public. It was another journey into the heart of New Hampshire. Another journey into the only place that ever put his soul at ease.
Barbara was something of a nemesis. She ridiculed him for his ability to be pompous and humble at the same time. He felt he could do no wrong. He had been blessed with a gift. Less than two years after his death, he walked the earth with a seemingly unstopable ability to conquer everything in his path. There was no trick, only the fact that he wanted none of it to keep him sailing forward. His wit and his smile and the willingness to back away from and concede any fight... knowing in the morning he would have been judged the winner... to keep him above the lethal din of the muddled crowd.
Barbara sang part time in a band, and she had invited him to see her sing. He looked forward to the day when he would be able to witness her artistic expulsions. He truly cared about seeing her perform and to hear the sound of her voice. What he did not know that once he walked in the door of the small club in which her band was playing that she would dedicate the next song to him. She had waited for this moment for many a month and smiled when she knew the time had arrived.
Mama, he's crazy and he scares me...
It was a song he had heard before but never really given much thought to. What is most interesting in life is that your perspective can be changed so quickly by the witnessing of another. Sometimes that perspective can be all too honest for a truthful renditioning. Barbara had her own problems, stemming from her unfortunate ball and chain of Crohn's Disease. She long ago decided to fly permanently solo rather than risk the potential embarassment having a lover might bring.
Though he might not give me the life that you wanted
I'll love him the rest of my days.
There was a son of a bitch behind his warm heart and tentative smiles. There was a directive in his life that no one really knew or understand. All their conversations over coffee in the afternoons and beer in the evenings led her to one realization. She knew pieces of him and she wanted to assemble the whole, but no one, not even he could do that.
Heart like a Gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a Lucifer, black and cold like a piece of lead
She sang while he watched, his mouth rarely drifting to his beer bottle for a time out. It was the song she unearthed because it made her think of him. She knew too much and wanted him to see that in her eyes, yet he did not flinch. Cold when he wanted to be. Warm when he needed to be. It was his way.
Baby, don't listen to what they say
There comes a time when you have to break away
They talked later that night. She told him she was giving up. The doctors were deluding her, she claimed. They could do nothing and yet they tried to placate her. She would sing and she would work. She would play out the rest of the hand life had dealt her.
"I've become Betty Boop. I'm much better as a cartoon than as a real person these days. I used to be so much more."
He smiled and he laughed. He knew it wasn't true and told her so. The fact was, life had forced her to stop being a cartoon and become real. Life wasn't about being the perfect flower gently blowing in the breeze. It was about knowing the soil wasn't always perfect and the rain wasn't always kind. He kissed her and said goodnight.
"I love you for my own reasons in your own special way," he told her.
"I'll try not to forget that in the morning."
He is me and he is she and we are she and we are they and they are all that matter.