Sleepless with Elton John

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last night’s struggle with sleep led me to  something quite unexpected: seeing Sir Elton John in a replay of American Idol.

There he was, the real idol I haven’t seen for decades, sporting metallic blue shades, playing “Your Song.” Starting off with the cadence of a slowly falling leaf in the thick of Autumn rain, his fingers graced the piano keys with more feeling now that when he donned, in his younger years, those ostentatious glasses. I sipped every rise and fall of his song, reminiscing my long-haired days with beer and cig in hand.

It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
I don’t have much money but boy if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live

He was obviously older now, wrinkled in ways only an Englishman, with grace, could flaunt. His hair had thinned, with facial skin that drooped and flayed with the humming of the stage. The audience, awestruck at the vision of grandeur, kept to their own thoughts, listening, taking in everything there is to take from an offering of song that is both rare and beautiful.

Sir Elton John

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they’ve got me quite cross
But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song
It’s for people like you that keep it turned on

It mattered little thereafter if I could sleep last night. Hadn’t had a decent wink for days due to this unremitting drive to finish my novel and collection of stories. Patting my pillow, I reclined with much ease now, thinking, heck! This song would probably do it for me.

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen

I sensed a cold puff of air leisurely breeze through my window. The scent of burning plastic and dry leaves reached my nostrils. The security guards are at it again, I thought with an angry grin. By my side, my wife Che was sound asleep in a fetal position, with one of her arms in a clutch ‘round my tattooed arm. As I leaned to give her a kiss, I noticed—again—that hers were the sweetest lips I have ever kissed.

It’s a thing I don’t often do, but remembering the heaviness of days when we don’t see eye to eye, I leaned even closer and sang in her ears the last lines of Elton’s song:

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

Only then did I close my eyes, confident in a sleep free of dreams.

For the song, check out YouTube:


JOEL PABLO SALUD is the chief editor of Philippines Graphic magazine.  He is also a member of the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and The Manila Critics Circle.


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