Fountain of Sorrow

Jackson Browne


garden reflections

It’s hard to know here to begin with Jackson Browne. I read a review of Late For the Sky in Rolling Stone & had to have it. I was overwhelmed by my first listen – played it dozens of times within a week, made everyone I knew listen to it, sent for the free lyric sheet. These weren’t lyrics they were poetry. The album is an American, California, classic. Music  that rocks with country folk hints. His voice is sublime & I was more than infatuated with him. Many male pop stars I longed to have sex with but he was one I ached to fall in love with.


tip of the iceberg

The songs on Late are resonant with emotions I was feeling or longed to feel – a lost of love, a memory of love, songs of loss, emotional and spiritual searching. Steeped in Americana imagery, perhaps a little melodramatic which made them even harder to resist.


His follow up The Pretender was more of the same & again it was the pulse of my heart – Long Distance Loneliness still chills me. There was a time when I played these two, as lps, weekly then monthly. If I was ever to be a songwriter I would have been Jackson Browne – only I’d be the queer version because his lyrics are invested in heterosexual longings.


On various MP3 collections there is also: Saturate Before Using/ Lives In The Balance; For Everyman/ Running on Empty/ Hold Out/ Lawyers in Love – and another stand-alone his 2008 Time The Conqueror More about them next week.



The dish ran away with the spoon. The spoon had belonged to my grandmother and the loss of it became an insurmountable obstacle to progress. Several important scientific discoveries were put aside as futile gestures without the spoon. Mankind was bereft of the one key, the one object that was vital to intellectual stimulation and financial progress.

My sister wasn’t sure what to to tell me. I had been late, again, coming home from flying school. I had hoped to follow in my father’s footsteps and keep up the family name but the news of the loss of the spoon put all that in jeopardy.

‘How could such a thing happen.’ I demanded of her.

‘I wish I knew. No one was expecting it. Least of of all I.’

‘And just where were you when this transpired.’


‘Asleep!’ my voice rose. Two windows in the left wing were shattered by my explosive anger. I had to keep it in check and usually did but occasionally I lost control. This was one of those rare occasions.

‘After losing two night of sleep worrying over Grabilla, is it little wonder I drifted off. The afternoon was hot, balmy.’

‘You have a knack for making excuses.’ I set about packing my bags. ‘But this time you have gone too far, even for a sister.’

‘Ferdov please please forgive me. I doubt if I can go on knowing you feel so strongly.’

‘Tell that to the spoon.’

I dashed down the limestone stairs to the dock and leapt into my motorboat. I had longed to escape this island, this family trap of of the past but had hoped it would be an easy departure and not this sort of emotional break.

‘Wait! Wait!’ my sister stood on the pier waving her apron aimless in the breeze. I would not return. How could I? There was nothing holding me to them now. Now that the spoon had run away with the dish. The next part of the prophesy would also come true. If I could somehow keep that in check perhaps there was hope after all.

The two-way radio on the dash sparkled to life.

‘Reports have come in that the last of the three blind mice has perished in a disastrous fire in the east wing.’

‘God!’ I raised my fist to the sky. ‘This is all your fault. Why have you deserted me now in this moment of trial.’

I stopped the motor of my boat. I needed some silence. Some small dollop of calm before I could face what I knew remained to be faced. If this was to be on my shoulder I would need to be ready.

A hand, then hands appeared on both sides of the boat and two men pulled themselves aboard, one on either side. ‘So Ferdov this is where you skulk to when you are needed.’

‘Father,’ I was amazed at the beads of water that dripped from his thick black beard. It had never shone so in the afternoon sun. ‘I did only what I felt in my bones I had to do.’

His valet, Rudo, grabbed me from behind and yanked hard on my arms, clasping my hands and wrists together tightly.

‘You’re hurting me.’

‘You like that, don’t you?’ Rudo’s breath stank in my ear.

‘On your knees,’ my father punched me in the forehead. I sank to my knees.

‘This is a mess and you are responsible.’

‘I? I’m not the one who fell asleep.’

‘Yes, but it was you who feed those silly ideas of freedom and adventure to the dish. It was you who convinced him that there was more to life than being convenient conveyer of our food stuffs. You made him question his basic sense of self and now you see the result of your interference.’

‘But Father, I was only repeating what you had told me so many times.’

‘Do not try to cast aspersions on the legends of our family. Never has such a thing happened. I will not allow you to escape punishments.’


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