During these days of early January, I subject myself to Steely Dan. It’s not that I don’t like Steely Dan. I like them well enough. Its just that Todd loved them so much and I can’t ever hear them without being reminded of him. Sure he liked their easy, sophisticated grooves, admired their melodic expertise, but probably most of all he loved Donald Fagan’s clever, inscrutable lyrics.
This morning I played “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” from 1975’s Katy Lied album. This is not a song I thought of in terms of Todd’s death but he probably did. Fagan’s verse begins,
If I had my way,
I would move to another lifetime.
I’d quit my job,
Ride the train through the misty nighttime.
I’ll be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
And if the folks will have me
Then they’ll have me.
They’ve got him now, though I’m not sure they are “folks” in the traditional sense. Still, there is some re-arrangement of dots, of atoms, that have mixed with those “folks” now.
Here in “the one where he came from,” we have a few images, a thousand character voices still playing, here where his feet touched ground, and where he was always welcome.