“Apple & Orange”

Here’s the text of a sort of storybook I posted to YouTube called “Apple & Orange”

There once was a girl named orange
Who strolled her path each day
Until she bumped into a boy
Who’d never come this way
He said his name was apple
And he liked her curly hair
And she said her name was orange
And they soon became a pair.
They went forth along that path
And talked and fooled around
And soon enough, without their knowing
Their feet had left the ground
Their cheeks were turning pink
Their chatter shrill and giddy
And they both began to squeak
As they passed above the city
They talked and talked
Floating up up and higher
Each inflated by the other
Sailing past the local spire
And having spoke of all that was
They talked of what might be
“All I know for sure,” said Orange,
“Is the future’s you and me.”
And hey look at that
Apple suddenly stopped ascending
While orange drifted on a bit
All that excitement suddenly pending.
When Orange finally reached her peak
She was up two paces higher
And Apple said this was a good enough place
To chill, to drink, retire
She looked down at the boy she’d come with,
And then up to what there was,
All stars and moons and darkness
An everlasting buzz.
But Apple was staying put.
“Yeah this place is fine for me.”
And Orange sighed and told herself
She could be as comfortable as he.
And the days passed as they had,
Talking and laughing all along,
Til she started to hear what he couldnt hear,
And it sounded like a song.
It was a harp from down below
All those dots and squigglesome lines
Of the town theyd risen up against
The life theyd left behind.
Cuz look at how great this had been,
To float higher and higher without stopping,
To rise with each other
To prize one another
Lock eyes with heartfelt talking.
But now.
Apple’s way down there.
Why didnt he come up here?
Could it be he didnt care?
Could it be some subtle fear?
Lots of people are scared of height
Not to mention that darkness overhead.
“Its hardly cause to start a fight,
Better just to go to bed.”
And so she kept the question to herself.
Why spoil all the fun?
Better up here in the clouds as two
Than down in the dirt as one.
And from that two pace gap
The pair went on and on
Apple all content
As Orange’s ear swelled up with song.
That song.
It was nuanced,
It was noisy,
Had that whispertingletwang
It was a tune like none she’d felt before
Like none shed ever sang.
But Apple, goddamnit,
How does this guy not hear it?
And she figured she too’d go deaf up here
And knew she oughta fear it.
And that night Apple dozed,
With Orange snoozing up above,
His eyes were at her ankle
And he’s feeling so unrankled
To see that she’s so very much in love.
In the morning he opened his eyes
And looked up to trade some smiles,
Only to find there’s no one there,
Just empty blue for miles.
He looked to his left
And he looked to his right
And finally looked down
To where, it seems, his partner’d fallen
Toward that old and distant town.
There, afloat, was Orange,
Two paces down below.
She was looking off
Toward distant shapes
Toward things she’d like to know.
He said, “Hey wait,
What are you doing down there?”
And his stomach suddenly twisted
With a fear he’d never cared to share
A truth that he’d resisted.
Cuz this girl’s got shit to do,
Shes got brains & places to be,
“I know you wanna be alone,” she said
“Just dont do it with me.”
And down she went towards earth,
By one drop two drip three
Eager for the music
For learning and for fun
And eager too for he.
But Apple stayed up there, looking down,
As Orange wept and waved.
“She’s on her way to a life in town,
And I reckon that life’s been saved.”
Cuz for all that silence and all that peace
That theyd found among the clouds
There was a world down here
With things to cheer
Among the baffled crowds.
And when Orange landed on her feet
Way down back where they had started
She looked around over rumpled wheat
Alone and brokenhearted.
Til that music from before
It rang in from the west
And she ran fast and weeping toward it
No time at all for rest.
She was dizzy
And needed something quick
Something soothing
Something moving
Some tender kinda fix.
And she came then upon the crowd,
Milling in the square,
Where people danced and played guitar
And the girls had colored hair.
In the crowd someone said hi,
And Orange said hi back,
And just like that, hardly a try,
She’d joined herself a pack.
They danced and sang
Played cards and traded books
And she found some Leonard Cohen verse
To which she gave a couple looks.
And up in the clouds Apple looked for where she might be,
Tried to parse the dots
And trace the lines
For the girl he wanted to see.
No luck.
And so there in the clouds he stayed,
Ponderous and quiet.
That quiet so gray, so loud, so bad,
Without his Orange there inside it.
Eventually a tune did catch his ear.
Way out and hard to hear.
The sound was small and words bizarre
But the message strangely clear.
And here came Leonard,
Passing by atop a cloud
with his cheap black wooden flute,
He’s raising up his hand,
Alongside of his band,
In heartbroken salute.
It was time to go back down,
And in tandem with his spirits Apple’s body began to dip
And drifted back toward his old town,
At a slow but steady clip.
And the town proved familiar and fine.,
Its warm down here and you can breathe.
Though you’ll get choked up and struggle mornings getting up
To know that Orange has taken leave
And Orange in her new digs
A life of duty and joy
Will look above each now and then
And she’ll think about that boy.
While Apple on his own path
Will turn and wonder too
About that girl he loved and floated with
And of all he never knew.
Each one will have resentments
But each will start to smile
And they’ll muse on how these many years
Have felt like just a while.
And if someday they meet down here
On the ground from which they’d fled
They’ll hug and laugh and reminisce
And perhaps they’ll go to bed.
And wherever they may meet
And however they might greet
They’ll be fettered they’ll be bettered
And be pulled in close together
By the pace of some old song
scribbled on a yellowed sheet.
And the band that night won’t take requests.
Just this one tune on repeat.
Anybody who doesn’t dance
Can have themself a seat.
But this old pair? They’ll dance each note
And their wounds will start to mend
And they’ll realize
as they start to float
this love won’t ever end.

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