All those yellow lines we cross over in our sleep. This is how we are driving through the pandemic head on with the night and winter’s disguise. Here is Greg singing a Jesus song. Picture the musician with his guitar riding a bus across the Upper Peninsula and using a handheld mike to record the Jesus song. He departs from Jesus to read a poem entitled “Hour of the Wolf,” a homage to Ingmar Bergman and his vampire film he made with his former love Liv Ullman, who happened to be pregnant with his child. But always return to the “pilot” and those late-night scenes moving through winter on a bus. R. Thorburn
I read Thorburn’s “Hour of the Wolf,” from one of his poetry books, The Drunken Piano, shortly after its publication in 2009. I knew what it was to see my reflection in a bus window at 3:00 am, and I could hear the bus driver singing a blues song, late at night, driving his life away. I felt what it was to be mid-twenties and anxious; I knew the pinch of wire-rim glasses.
I wanted the wolfing hour to have a melody, maybe a divinity to accompany that grainy ride, and I came up with the song below – borrowing from Edward Hopper’s Hymn, “Jesus Savior Pilot Me” as a floating refrain from the incessant and noisy wheels of the bus. I saw Thorburn and the bus passengers related by anxiety to disciples in a boat on a stormy sea, and as I see many people these days, anxious about something they can’t see. Who needs a blues singer? Carvin Jones, blues singer from here in Arizona, did a concert last night with his band, streamed on Facebook, and 28,000 followed. Who needs a blues singer?
Of The Drunken Piano, David Dodd Lee said, “Read this book for the way it shatters the boundaries of “story” by creating an original and neccessry human noise that is the thing we remember when we put the book down.” Bronwyn Mills wrote of poems in The Drunken Piano, “Notes pulled from a Bergmanesque cello, house whiskey, the grainy surface of film noir detective movies–sepia nights and sleepless mornings . . .”
I recognized, when first encountering Thorburn’s wolf hour on a bus, . . . an “original and necessary noise,” and a “sleepless night.” I gave it a tune, and added a voice. “Hour of the Wolf – Pilot Me,” written by R. Thorburn, arranged and read by G. Omson, recorded mono track on an Apple iPhone, August, 2019 at a cabin in the Midwest.