Tori Amos — “Cloud On My Tongue” (from Under the Pink) —
Charlie Sheen’s scorched-earth campaign of complete self-destruction — which was dangerous live-wire fun in its infancy but which has (d)evolved into a heartbreaking three-dimensional collage of despair and denial — has me in an odd frame of mind this morning, and that almost always leads me to seek solace within the bountiful bosom of my own goddess. I haven’t written about my divine Miss Tori in this space for eons now — which is so not gettin’ it — and I’m feeling the width and profundity of that void in the whole of my soul today. You already know — you must, yes? — that Amos is my all-time favorite, and there are a trillion billion reasons why (love you, A!), but the most relevant one — at least for right now, this second — is that, at her most deliciously delicate, boldest best, she writes (and my God, sings!) about those among us who have been cast out — even (and, often, especially) those of us who are hiding in plain sight — and who are desperately trying to claw their way back in. And, in however trivial a way, the small-town boy, the oddball writer, the gay Texan in me can relate. If I were being exiled to Elba and were allowed only one album in my carry-on, I’d probably slit my wrists en route to the boat. But if I could bring along five albums, you’d best believe Pink — Amos’ astonishing second album — would be the first of the five chosen, and even though “Cloud” — the record’s gloriously wrenching emotional zenith — isn’t nearly my favorite Pink tune, it’s the one my heart can’t seem to shake as I type this. (When, near the end, she sings, her voice almost at a demolished murmur, thought I was / over the bridge now, doesn’t every fraying fiber in your own wounded heart just ache for her?) Got to stop spinning, sure and for sure, and today, I pray in my own way that we — we meaning Charlie, me, ignorant Republicans who have lost complete sight of why their party was even founded, all of us — will stop, will stand up, will turn over the right rocks and find the temerity to truly win.