Rosko's Book of Songs and Visions: Vulnerability / by Sam Abelow

"Vulnerability," a self portrait in gouache, acrylic, colored pastel, on paper, completed June 26th 2016.

Detail images of the face and guitar -- click to expand

"Vulnerability," a second installment, in gouache, acrylic, colored pencil, on paper completed June 23rd, 2016. 

The soft and effeminate singing is drenched in the washy moods of sentimental attraction, dulled passion, flatted out by a mind submerged in undefined emotion.

I enjoy playing this song; open chords on the guitar, painfully romantic, poetically honest lyrics. Now that years have passed since I wrote the song, there is a new perspective. But for you, this may be the first time coming across this tune, these words and these images.

So, if you will find it suitable, I will give some clues. The face on the guitar: that is me -- a pained and discontent, fragile, almost like a vase, rooted in his instrument as a portal to dissolution, to escape and often ending in fractured inaction. The sheep: a tame animal, domesticated and docile. The tree: a thin and whispery anchor against a sky of turbulence -- an ardent orange is in contradiction to the opposing gentle, staid blue.

As for the clues for the second painting I will be brief. She holds concern in her eyes and is yet detached. Her fleshy tones make her tangible, yet her dress is ghostly, and she stands in vast dream-like haze. The symbol on her hand is the same as, back to the first painting, in the center of the guitar.

The words of "Vulnerability," formatted into a poem.

This live, solo acoustic version of "Vulnerability," recorded in 2015, was inspired by the intimacy of live performances. 

I recall how, in 2012, I had reported to Jeff the shortcoming of my unrequited love, of my mis-timed expression of feelings to a close girl friend. The song was spinning in my mind, without a title.

Jeff's living room was comfortable me -- a home away from home. His mother happily cooking and recommended we watch a recent Ted Talk. When the speaker began to talk about the necessity of vulnerability in life and relationships, I looked at Jeff and smiled, a slight and musing smile. It was if, to me at the time, this had been a profound lesson -- a blessing in disguise.

Below are excerpts from my journal at the time. I know that it is revealing -- that is, exposes who I was at the time. For whatever reason, I find it disturbing, yet poetic -- the beautiful, destructive psyche of someone lost and longing.

June 29th, 2012

She told three of her friends [what happened.] One told me she was, “So sorry.

I said “Thanks.” But I thought, “You make me feel bad.” 

I showed that friend a new song (an early version of “Vulnerability”). The friend treated me like I was a confused lunatic — but maybe I am crazy.

Her other friend came two days ago and brought her along. The friend asked, “How are you doing?” 

I said, “Okay!”

Then there was quiet. I watched her silence.

I love her insane amounts and nothing can change that. I would wait for her — not that I have a choice. I’m a mockery of myself: sad Sam, with a broken gun. Sad solemn, I swear, I swear before and again… Well that’s love, my friend.

Here I am in that funny space; loneliness to shame the case. I’m not depressed — I’ll be alright, despite what happened that night. Just don’t ignore me because you think I’m “sorry and “sad.“

It all goes back to how pure my intentions were and how right I feel with her. God it’s not fair to loose a friend. But, I don’t want a friend; I want a lover. I’ll [pay] her until I’m found, because she is not the only golden heart. [Indecipherable] I love too much now, but it’s okay — I’ll be alright.

First draft of lyrics for what became "Vulnerability"

The scribblings in a journal, transcribed above

Sad, solemn, I swear...

Click on images to expand

For "Birth Certificate: The Basement Tapes" I have sourced all of my favorite, most memorable, most potent songs from the years 2011 through 2014. This culmination of many years worth of songwriting, comes together in a purposefully loose, raw and understated form.

Download free in MP3:

The album is also available to stream on Bandcamp, Spotify, Tidal and on iTunes for purchase.