Monday, December 11, 2006

Song-Poem Update

So you guys were no help at all in determining what to submit for a song-poem. Thanks a lot. In the end it didn't matter because my options turned out to be more limited than I thought they would be.

First I asked Will (my four-year old son) to help me write a song. I asked him what he would like to right about, and he said "kitties!" "Okay what do you want to say about kitties?" I asked. "Kitties, kitties, kitties, kitties, kitties, kitties, I love kitties." That was as much as he was willing to contribute. Will is a very creative kid with an astounding vocabulary (he recently used the word "dissipate" in an entirely appropriate context). But the creativity has to pretty much come on his own terms, and he just wasn't into this.

So, on to option two: I tried to find the poem about sad clowns I wrote in the third grade. I thought it was with a package of old school stuff my parents gave me before they moved, but I couldn't find it. (Will did enjoy reading some funny paragraphs I wrote in fourth grade, and wearing my old Indian Guides vest though.)

That left me with no options other than to either write an entirely new song, or revisit the "Boy in the Bubble" song I wrote years ago. I just didn't feel up to writing something new, so it was back to "Boy In the Bubble." I was reluctant to revisit this song for a few reasons; first, I wrote this before the much-criticized Bubble Boy movie, and at 37 I am a little more sensitive about being respectful of people with real disabilities than I was as a callow youth. (I wrote the song after the Seinfeld "Bubble Boy" episode, but I hadn't seen it at the time.) Also, I remembered far less of the lyrics than I thought I would (only a couple lines really), so I essentially had to redo the whole thing.

Some back-story on this: I originally wrote the lyrics to "Boy in the Bubble" circa 1994 after watching the John Travolta Boy In the Plastic Bubble made-for-TV movie while working at Kim's Video in New York. The movie struck me as strange because while it dealt with the specifics of the of the boy's immunodeficiency, the writers ended up treating the whole thing as a kind of poetic metaphor for fear of commitment. (At the end of the movie Travolta's character just leaves the bubble to be with the girl he loves to no ill effect). I thought it would be amusing to write a song that treated the subject in the same way (i.e. as a metaphor for fear of commitment). I really didn't intend it to be offensive or insulting to people with serious diseases, although I recognize it probably is. I apologize for that.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the lyrics I came up with. I wrote them in about ten minutes last night, and they bear little similarity to the original lyrics, so I have renamed the song, "Ballad of the Boy in the Bubble":
I live my life behind cellophane
It's enough to drive a boy insane
No fresh air, no human touch
But when I saw you baby it was just too much

I'm the boy in the bubble
And love is just trouble
Boy in the bubble
Love is just trouble

As fine as you are I must turn you away
Cause in this bubble I must stay
I know your kiss would thrill me
But baby your germs could kill me

I'm the boy in the bubble
And love is just trouble
Boy in the bubble
Love is just trouble

Love's too scary with immunodeficiency
If I leave this bubble it could be the end of me
But I can't help wonder what it would be like
To feel your touch and ride a bike

I'm the boy in the bubble
And love is just trouble
Boy in the bubble
Love is just trouble

My love for you just can't be concealed
My emotions aren't hermetically sealed
I'll take my chances leave this bubble behind
Cause life without love isn't kind

I'm the boy in the bubble
And love is just trouble
Boy in the bubble
Love is just trouble

But I'll take my chances leave this bubble behind
Cause life without love isn't kind

So there it is, it's not nearly as good as the song-poems many people with serious mental illness write, but it is what it is. I'll be interested to see what the guy comes up with. He promises to have the song to me in about a week, and I'll post it when I get it. And remember dear reader, you are partly to blame for this offensive trash because you didn't advise me not to do it when you had the chance.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The chorus sucks.

Pete Bilderback said...

Yeah, I would tend to agree, and it's going to be very awkward to sing. Ironically, the chorus, plus the "kill me," "thrill me" rhyme are about all I remembered from what I wrote back in '94. The rest was written in about 10 minutes on Sunday night.

I think I deserve some credit for rhyming "immunodeficiency" with "be the end of me" though.