My Madeleine: S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats

So I started writing this poem about one of my sisters, “I think of you, when I eat Kale.”


Yeah, that’s kind of odd or “different,” as we say in Minnesota. But that’s one of the cool things about having a neurological disorder–people EXPECT me to be weird. I’m enjoying it.

Music is my soul food

Anyway, as thoughts of my sister sashayed through my dreams last night, I realized how music narrates my life. How songs evoke powerful emotions in me –my Proustian Madeleines. I realized later that I have very few intimate friends that are not as passionate about music as I am. My marriage would be weaker

James Taylor’s “Mexico” reminds me of dancing with my sisters as a young child;

“Country Roads” and “We are Family” conjure the magic of driving around with my daughter, singing—loudly;

“Chicken Fried Steak” summons my younger son grinning ear-to-ear;

Where as my eldest son shares at least a dozen songs for cooking together as does my spouse.

But music and dance are not my languages — I embody color, flavor, and words. But my sister, her spouse, and daughter do with such grace and power. Watching her move –dance, stretch, or simply walk–and her spouse groove to music while making it with his voice and instruments thrills and confounds me. I have no idea how they do it. And their daughter’s voice is earthy and ethereal, so much like my mom.

Last summer, extended family performed “Love Train” at a Prince event. All of you who were there, do you recalll how we danced and sang together joyfully as everyone else looked on but would not (or could not) unglue themselves from the safety of the walls? I left thinking how lucky I am to be part of this family. Fast forward to today. I spilled something , I swore under my breath saying, “Son of a bitch,” in perfect mimicry of my dad.

So I grabbed my phone, queued up this song (loudly) and danced, cleaning up the mess. Maybe it’s not the most appropriate song to consider if he ever passes away, but it’s how I’d send him off.

He’s fine, by the way. If anyone will live forever, it would be my father. ❤️

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