(Author’s note: I am officially retiring the word “concubine” from the second verse. That was insensitive and inaccurate even when I wrote it, and more glaring now. I sang it here for what will be the last time.)

Falsified: Altered, so as to mislead.

I am slightly amazed by the personal truth I am mining from this song lately. The autobiographical verses (Hanover hitch-hiking, a summer in Charlottesville, etc.) are one thing, but the following passage is what is striking me:

I did not know that I was running
To see the sunlight streaming
Down on the landscape of my Alcatraz escape
From the sadness ’twas born in my soul
I went down through the labyrinth of my falsified regret
Deep in flight from the light in my soul.

Sad stuff, man. To be running, yet not know that I was running, trying to escape from an inescapable place. Alcatraz. My Alcatraz. For me, it’s a feeling of guilt that nobody ever forced on me but which I conjured myself before I could even form sentences. Before I knew it, I was deep in flight from the light in my soul.

What a complicated tapestry I sewed
All that energy I wasted on my fear
In the years spent stumbling down my lonely road

If you have listened to my music these past 25+ years, you will know that this is the stuff I have been working through all along. My falsified regret. My flight from the light. And yet there is a joy in this song that belies all the heavy lyrics. The joy is the light which, of course, was there all along, the joy that liberates me, again and again and again, from my self-made prisons.