Alligator Tears

Author: 
Bob Murray

This collection of songs could not be more personal. It is the unabridged version of my life journey over a period of a year and a half - certainly the travails, and to some degree even the outer. In August, 2006, my wife and I split up, I moved to central Maine to take a high school teaching job, roughly five hours away from Sue and our six-year-old daughter, Sammie. It was a very dark time of my life, one of great pain and heavy soul-searching. Fortunately for me, I had the benefit of Archetypal Dreamwork (also refered to as the Dreamwork) to help navigate me through that often excruciating inner work. I am eternally grateful to Marc Bregman, my therapist, for his guidance in that regard.

During this time that might even be referred to as my dark night of the soul, I found myself calling out in desperation for help. Amazingly, even miraculously, there were responses. Many of those responses came by way of these songs. In effect, these songs are the musical expression of my journey in the Dreamwork during that time. As I listen to these songs, I can feel it all - the pain, in particular, but also the healing. I hope you can feel that as well.

Lyrics for Alligator Tears

My father’s birthday is in September
Turns 80 first day of the fall
His health is hanging on, still got lots of kick
But that number, well, you wonder bout it all

Man there’s so much I want to tell you
I can’t imagine where to start
So I’ll just sit right here and let it all come out
God help me throw the valve that stops my heart

We walked a beach once, Carolina
It must be fifteen years ago
The gulls were squawking, it was windy, it was cold
You were speaking truths I didn’t want to know

I heard you harping about decisions
Said you cared and that was why
You felt the need to lay it all out in the sand
I was messing up and then you stopped to cry

You were sorry, oh so sorry, for the things that I had done
What I heard was, heed my words son, get a life cause you got none

I lit out of there as fast as I could go
Couldn’t take those alligator tears
That’s how I’ve judged them every time that he chokes up
More often now with all these passing years

Seems so strange to know that that was what I thought
That he could fake his love for me
As if I myself could simply turn that faucet on
And my apple falls directly from his tree

You were sorry, oh so sorry, for the things that I had done
What I heard was, heed my words son, get a life cause you got none

Then last visit we were downstairs, my old room
The scene of all my jumbled youth
With your harmonica we found some common ground
But it was time to play a song that spoke some truth

I chose the one about my darling little girl
The one I never make it through
I felt the tears well up and let them all come out
It seemed like there was nothing else to do

You were sorry, oh so sorry, for the things that I had done
What I heard was, heed my words son, get a life cause you got none

So I was standing there and sobbing through my song
But not self-conscious in the least
Not feeling silly or embarrassed or all wrong
Seems the demon that belittles me had ceased

My vision blurred so much I couldn’t see your face
But I could hear you just the same
It felt so good to hear you crying right out loud
As though your tears could somehow ease my pain

You said sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry for you son
You said sorry, you were sorry, as if our pain were truly one

Something happened that day in that basement room
Some things I’ll never understand
But from that moment on my life has somehow changed
At 55, I’m 21 a man

And I’m sorry, Dad I’m sorry, that I’ve often judged you wrong
Yes I’m sorry. I’m so sorry
I’ve been weak but now I’m strong

My father’s birthday is in September
We’ll celebrate this special year
I pray you live to greet 100, dear old man
I’ll toast you, Dad, through alligator tears

Lyrics for That Simple Act of Letting Go

It’s been a year now since I backed out of the driveway, took my clothes down Highway 2
A muggy day that much I do recall, perhaps a little overcast with intermittent blue
I was in some kind of hurry to give myself a brand new start
So I just flipped the trip odometer to zero, sped away and clocked the distance from my heart

See I was darned if I would feel it, weren’t no point in going there
Thought the truth may be that I was so shut down by then that, well I really didn’t care
Out of sight might be out of mind, but it’s not like that with the heart
So I’m going back there now to sift through all that numbed-out blur and feel it
Each and every part

So I can see you on those porch steps, our little Sammie by your side
And I can see that look upon your face, like you’d been through it all with nothing left to hide
I can’t say that it touched me, I was all steeled up inside
But I left everything I’d known and loved behind that day, drove away and never even cried

But twelve months later I can feel it, and this pain I feel is real
It’s taken all this time to burn through that old breastplate and
expose it to this so-called man of steel
And yes, it hurts to touch these feelings, sometimes it’s like that with the heart
But I’m not moving till these feelings wash all over me and through me till I exorcise this dark

So what it gets to is forgiveness, that simple act of letting go
And yet this grudge has camped so long inside my craw that it’s convinced
that it has earned itself a home
And it refuses to go lightly, it wants to set the record right
But I want done with all this cold front that I’ve stuffed between us, just my poorly-disguised spite

So let me bathe in this forgiveness, beneath that spite and pain is love
And let me dive right to the depths of this big pool where it’s inhabited by butterflies and doves
And from this place I say I’m sorry, and that comes to you from the heart
And now I pray that I can leave this spite toward you far behind and give myself
a brand new start

There’s something else too, I forgive you, which means I’ve forgiven me
And in this simple act of finally letting go there’s now some space for me to finally be

Bob Murray grew up in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and is a former professional hockey player, author and musician with two solo albums in distribution--Alligator Tears and Lifelines —both recorded live at the North of Eden Retreat Center in Lowell, Vermont. A third album is now available, this one a studio collaboration with keyboard and accordion master, Jeremiah McLane, entitled O Boss Man.