When I began writing on my website I often talked about, perhaps even gushed over, Louie Cruz Beltran. I truly appreciate his words and music. I am not gifted with the words to express how much I appreciate his creations and what they mean to me. They bring me joy and I've needed that over the past year. It's even harder for me to wrap words around what two others, who preceded Louie by more than twenty years, have meant to me.

One of those is Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics are the kind of poetry which reachs me in places I cannot express, only feel. Over the twenty-five years I've been listening to his music and reading his lyrics, they've touched me in different ways, at different times, depending upon what was happening in my life. I have every CD, I've re-typed the lyrics to most of the songs for my own pleasure. When I read that he and the E Street band were getting together to produce another CD, I was excited, until I understood it was born within the ashes of September 11, 2001.

I haven't discussed that day on my website. The section of the website where I chatter was created long after that day. But it is because of that day I created it and started writing there. I lost someone dear to me that day. I still have a problem discussing it. The pain is still too deep and raw, the loss too great. I've avoided, to the best of my ability, all discussions of that day. I just can't deal with it. When I had heard that the two men, who's music has been a large part of my life since I was twelve years old, would be performing at the televised benefit days after the September 11 terrorist attack, I knew I couldn't watch it. Springsteen, and Billy Joel, both reach me, deep within, with the power of their voices, words and music. Watching it would have undone me. In retrospect, perhaps that would have been best. It would have forced the grief to the surface sooner. But at that time, I just couldn't deal with it, so I didn't watch.

I couldn't decide whether or not to buy Springsteen's latest CD. As much as I wanted to listen to it, I felt it would be too difficult if it was about that devastating day. Often compared to Dylan, Springsteen's lyrics and music trace our current history with a great deal of depth and beauty and expression. His gift of words and music has never ceased to amaze and move me. I was worried that he would, as he has so often, provoke my deepest emotions. Emotions I've been avoiding for nearly a year. I was afraid he would, yet again, take me to places I just didn't want to go. The one I've lost is also deeply tied to the lyrics and music of Springsteen. I felt that encountering those regions of my soul without him would be too difficult to do alone.

In the end, my desire to hear Springsteen and the band outweighed my concerns enough to purchase the CD at Amazon. When the package arrived last week, I didn't open it. It sat on the cedar chest in the hallway where I had dropped it after the UPS man delivered it. The cats knocked it off a couple of times and I would just pick it up and put it back, unopened. I finally opened it Saturday night. I read the lyrics and felt the tears begin well.

Lonesome Day
Into The Fire
Waitin' On A Sunny Day
Nothing Man
Countin' On A Miracle
Empty Sky
Worlds Apart
Lets Be Frinds (Skin to Skin)
Further On (Up the road)
The Fuse
Mary's Place
You're Missing
The Rising
My City of Ruins

I should have had more faith. This CD is beautiful, and even upbeat in places, perhaps the best of all his work to date. But then, I think that everytime he releases a new CD. It has opened wounds, especially the songs You're Missing and Paradise, but those wounds are also being washed clean, after nearly a year of festering. Clemons on sax, Springsteen's voice and words and music. A gift of poetry, sound and thought; a benediction. There's love, joy and hope here. It's a wonderful CD by one of my three favorite contemporary composers and musicians. If you're considering buying it, I hope you do so. I don't think, if you've ever been a fan of Springsteen, you'll regret it.

I'm grateful to Springsteen for filling my life for the past twenty-five years with poetry and music, laughter and tears; for being the soundtrack to so many of my memories. As it has in the past, his music has released something within my soul. I was afraid I would only encounter painful memories in listening to the latest compilation. Instead, I found release and joy.