Shakti Krahe-Wolf: Midlife Mayhem

“Wild woman are an unexplainable spark of life. They ooze freedom and seek awareness, they belong to nobody but themselves yet give a piece of who they are to everyone they meet. If you have met one, hold on to her, she'll allow you into her chaos but she'll also show you her magic.” ― Nikki Rowe


This is the story where I tell you that my ex-husband messaged me today.

That is not always unusual, we have managed to cobble together what was the best part of our marriage and turn it into some form of wonky-tallied friendship for the things we shared.  Meaning, we talk movies, books, television, and music.

Today he messaged me about music.  That Chris Cornell had passed. We don’t message often, so when I saw his message, I knew what it would contain.  I had heard the news. I was sick to my stomach.  I felt like someone had sucker punched me in my throat.

Last year, I let go of many of my musical loves, but this one, it hurt, the way that Bowie, Cohen, Prince, Sharon Jones and George Michael hurt, but there was more for me.

Temple of the Dog.  Need I say more.

This is the part of the story, when I was blitzed out drunk, laying in my bedroom, my full size bed took up the whole room, I had one dresser, on top of it, my stereo.  My most cherished treasure.  I was listening to Temple of the Dog.  I couldn’t think straight, I was lost and lonely. I didn’t feel as though anyone would ever see me or even want to.

Please, mother of mercy,                                                                                                                                                               Take me from this place                                                                                                               and the long winded curses                                                                                                         I keep here in my head                                                                                                             Words never listen”

Or the story where I  would play Soundgarden in the backdrop of my body as I was being groped by the love of the night, who was thrusting himself on my body, squeezing my tits so hard, I would scream.  He would only squeeze harder.  I would grow still, quiet and just listen, the alcohol, the love of the night and this voice, coursing through my body.
Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
‘Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone
Who isn’t me
©Down on the upside 1996
The once upon a time story where I was happy and drunk, relaxed and unburdened for a moment. The loss of my mother, filled each room I entered.  I was 22 and my future husband and I, well fumbled and fell in love. But first there was crazy and alarmingly filled with confidence and strangeness, sex.  Sex filled the evening, the late evening, the early morning.  We were young, and this was what we were listening to, as every moment of that evening filled my life, soul and body.
So now you know, who gets mystified
Show me the power child
I’d like to say
That I’m down on my knees today
It gives me the butterflies
Gives me away
Till I’m up on my feet again
I’m feeling outshined
©Badmotofinger 1991
 Then there was the part of the story where my daughter died and my husband died a year after, and all that I could listen to, was his voice fill my soul with understanding of these moments, and their darkness.

And whomsoever I’ve cradled, I’ve put you down                                                              I’m a search light soul they say                                                                                                 But I can’t see it in the night                                                                                                        I’m only faking when I get it right                                                                                             When I get it right                                                                                                                          ‘Cause I fell on black days                                                                                                             I fell on black days

 Then there was that crazier part my once upon a time where I moved to West Virginia and never went home to Oregon.  I flew to West Virginia and listened to Badmotofinger the whole way here, only to meet the  boy who would become my husband for the next ten years, the one who messaged me today.  We won’t go into the nuances of our marriage, but I will say, he knows my love of this music, this man, and this part of my life.
Every part of my life is in the lyrics of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, I can see, feel and smell each moment of those songs, and how I felt, who I was with and how I ended up there, all in his songs, lyrics, albums.
I sobered and found recovery with Chris Cornell and his super-genius, he too found some sobriety in his life, today I am not sure he found his peace.
Chris and his so clear, lyrically brilliant, rock ballads, he managed to have the vocal range of the four-octave reach.
Every other day I blast his cover of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, his voice, subtle, soft, husky and easy to put on your playlist of “let’s make love or let’s fuck” the song suits both.  His voice weaves through the body, insidious and yet remembered.

For many it was the loss of Bowie, Prince, Cohen, Michael, for me, it was you, Chris Cornell.  The times of every part of my life, covered in your voice, covered in your sad, lonely, dark lyrics.  You helped me to see that those feelings had a place.

Drunk, sober, living life, surviving, thriving.  Sadly, it was not your ending.  You made a different choice for yourself.  One that I may not understand today, but at the core of my soul, I do understand, maybe too closely, as my last suicide attempt was in the 1990’s and I was alone, scared, terrified and yet, you were the voice I heard when the cab took me home.

No one would come to the hospital to pick me up.  I had a life that on the outside looked amazing, but on the inside it was shame, hurt, regret, sadness, loneliness, and rinse and repeat. That taxi man, he put my CD in and I cried in the back of his cab.  I was lonely, you were there, and I got out of the cab, tipped the taxi man with the CD, as he walked me to my door.  I went inside my lovely home, and began again.

Tongues will wag at all the reasons you may have hung yourself, their will be theories thrust about regarding your lyrics and your life.  You are, like all of us, your own soul. With your own journey.  I am not here to judge the choices, I am here like all of us to learn acceptance.  Acceptance of who you are and who you were, and those two will be burned in my soul.

I have cried all day, and that may seem trivial to many, but to me this was very true, very real and very visceral.  If you know me, you know my love of lyrics, music and how it has played out in my life.  There is a part of my metaphorical heart that will beat with the rhythm of the songs that have been my darkest and my brightest burning days.

Thank you Chris, for everything. The lyrics, the voice, the ability to sing like it meant as much to you as it did to me.

Peace in your next journey.

“I sure don’t
Mind a change
But I fell on black
How would I know
That this could be
My fate”

©”Superunknown” (1994)


One thought on “I Fell on Black Days…

  1. Maggie says:

    Peace and love

    Liked by 1 person

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