Johnny’s gone home to June
Oh — Johnny Cash is dead — it feels like a loss that should be met with wailing, with rending of garments, with church bells tolling.
While I’m happy for him, because he seemed so bereft without June, I am so so sad for the rest of us. That voice, that gravity, that deep sense that absolute ruin was just a moment away. I think that’s what I loved most about Cash, his music doesn’t just acknowledge that we can all fuck up our lives beyond repair, but that we are always just a few short steps from that terrible fate. And that it’s usually just the grace of God and the love of our families that keeps us from ruin.
I discovered Johnny Cash the winter I lived in Taiwan with my best friend from college. She had just married her husband, who is now a huge Chinese pop sta and we lived in a welter of Chinese pop music. After a few weeks all that tinkling upbeat cheer got to me and I bought a Johnny Cash tape in one of the street markets. After that, the soundtrack of Taipei was Johnny Cash — he kept me grounded, reminded me what I love about America, gave me courage when I was on the wrong bus and no one spoke English and all the signs were in Chinese.
I have a hunch it’s going to be all Cash, all day here in the casa. Rest in peace big man.