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  • Hurt – Johnny Cash

    I hurt myself today to see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real
    The needle tears a hole, that old familiar sting
    Try to kill it all away ...but I remember everything

    What have I become, my sweetest friend?
    Everyone I know goes away in the end...
    And you could have it all - my empire of dirt
    I will let you down ...I will make you hurt

    I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar's chair
    Full of broken thoughts I cannot repair
    Beneath the stains of time, the feelings disappear
    You are someone else - I am still right here...

    What have I become my sweetest friend ?
    Everyone I know goes away in the end
    And you could have it all - my empire of dirt
    I will let you down - I will make you hurt

    If I could start again a million miles away
    I would keep myself - I would find a way

    Johnny Cash recorded this song near the end of his life. The video of him singing it – I have no words to describe what it did to me. I still tear up when I listen to this song. I’ve always been a huge, huge fan of the man. His duet with Bob Dylan on “Girl From the North Country” is one of my all-time favorite performances. I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert here in D.C. on the evening of the day Johnny died. I was grieving the passing of one of my favorite performers...and so was Bruce. He opened the show with “I Walk the Line”, and dedicated the show to one of his heroes. I’ve seen Bruce perform countless times, but this was, far and away, his most passionate performance of all – as shows go, this one “howled”.

    I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
    I keep my eyes wide open all the time
    I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
    Because you're mine, I walk the line

    You’ve always reminded me of Johnny. I wish you would reconsider leaving this street, my friend. Lord knows, it is far from perfect – it is filled with pot-holes, broken cobblestones, many of the streetlights are burnt-out, and many of the stores are boarded up.

    But, it has character; it has heart; it has passion; and, there’s always at least one light on. If you must walk on, I won’t stand in your way. We all must follow where our hearts tell us to go. But, know this – I will hurt. I will miss someone who has become like a brother to me.

    Also, know this - there will always be a light lit on Cowbird Street, with your name on it. That, I promise you, my friend.
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