Written by guest blogger, Alexander Chicco:
“My City of Ruins” by Bruce Springsteen is a song that holds a special purpose in my life. I use the word purpose deliberately. It does not simply “mean” something to me, it has a job to do, it is utilitarian. When I need a pacifier, when life, as it often seems to do, deals me an unfathomable hand, when I need strength to move on; I put this song to work.
I spent my formative university years at Tulane in New Orleans and for those of you who have spent any time down there, you know what that means. The city has “got” me. It’s a second home of sorts and there simply is no other place on this great big earth like it (trust me, I have been searching). To put it simply and to quote another great track, I “know what it means to miss New Orleans”.
When Hurricane Katrina was approaching the gulf coast, I simply ignored it. I was back in New York at the time, and Katrina, (as she is now infamously known) was just another hurricane that would probably amount to nothing. Folks in New Orleans use the many hurricanes that approach the city as cause to throw a party. But in the days leading up to when the storm hit, I started paying closer attention. When the storm hit, it was as if I had been punched in the gut. We can all remember the horrors that unfolded. I won’t recollect them now.
What I will do is marvel at the strength of the human spirit. It took sometime, but New Orleans rose up; got back on its feet, kept on truckin’. New Orleanians reminded us how that, even in the worst of times, we have the ability to power through, persevere, and move on. This song illustrates that awesome ability. It’s not lyrically profound, it’s not melodically complex; but it sends chills down my spine.
Admittedly, the song was not written about New Orleans or Katrina (it was written about Asbury Park, New Jersey), but it easily could have been. That it wasn’t written about New Orleans speaks to the power of the message Bruce is sending. It is a song about hope, a song about strength in the face of disaster. When tragedy hits, the song works as a kind of opiate to get you through the now; a bridge to tomorrow when the pain, just maybe, could recede a bit. Let’s hope it will.
- Posted by kathleenogrady
- On April 1, 2012
- 0 Comments