The Summer of Jeff Buckley

Sometimes dream imitate life. I don’t dream often, but I had this dream. The dream was of two young guys who both loved music intensely and had their own favorite artists. They immediately became friends. It was the kind of friendship from the start they were inseparable. In the dream, one asks the other if he has ever heard or listened to Jeff Buckley’s album “Grace,” and the other friend has not. Let’s just say the dream was the friend introducing the other friend to the album, and it was so vivid and real. It was like the first time I was introduced to the album. In an interview, Tori Amos (musician/songwriter) once stated this about hearing “Grace for the first time

“I was hearing this and… to know that he was able to tap into this, and yet wasn’t able to stay on the planet for whatever reason. But he could touch this level of grace.”

The album literally takes you to this holy space. The dream was so incredibly real. It was literally two younger guys (neither myself or my friend), but the way they shared the album, the friendship they had, was definitely an attestation to the relationship I had with my own friend who introduced me to the album. It was so realistic and so strange to come in a dream because we became friends my senior year of college and he still had college to finish; however, we spent pretty much one year of our lives together, and he was an amazing friend. There’s a verse in the Greg Brown song, “The Poet Game,” that describes our relationship perfectly:

I had a friend who drank too much
and played too much guitar -
and we sure got along.
Reel-to-reels rolled across
the country near and far
with letters poems and songs..
but these days he don't talk to me
and he won't tell me why.
I miss him every time i say his name.
I don't know what he's doing
or why our friendship died
while we played the poet game.

Aside from literally hearing the album almost perfectly in my dream, as if I were listening to it for the first time, it felt like my friend had returned for bit, and it was great to hang out with him. We lost track of him and nobody has ever seen or ran into him for years. He sort of lingers just in our memory like this ghost that came and went. He was this huge Jeff Buckley fan and that’s sort of how Jeff Buckley looms for most of us, as this amazing, genius. This ghost-like figure we were given for such a brief, short time in this world. Every time I do listen to “Grace,” it is like revisiting two old friends, Jeff Buckley and my buddy. I wrote a poem once called “The Summer of Jeff Buckley and it was a longer poem broken into very short stanzas. I showed it to my ex-wife one day and she suggested it just be the first stanza, to let it stand alone. I liked her take on it, so I will leave you with that.

The Summer of Jeff Buckley 

The summer of Jeff Buckley

Smells of mowed lawns and knowing

How to miss the open road

In the “I’ve been living a drifter’s life

But now I’m broke,’ sort of way

That is still young and begging

For money and life experience.

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