These were the songs that in all likelihood had been written in the period she was there (as in literally outside the studio, or shortly thereafter): “Never Let me Go”, “Stateless”, “Falling At Your Feet” and “Dancin’ Shoes”. What follows simply views them in the context she did, -if she were to view them personally, after she no longer had the capacity to do so, so fully had the encounter robbed her belief and sense of self; (because in actual fact the context of whether the feedback was occurring with her and really existed actually had a fair bit to do with her sense of self at this point).
“Never Let Me Go” possessed an elegant resonance that would forever remain, in the context of the self-same analogy employed by Ian Brown of meeting at the shore on the sand, which made perfect sense, especially since both were written in the same period she arrived and the encounter had indeed taken place. She’d of course been to Skerries and had a view of Red Island without knowing it. It had no bearing that he’d grounded the context locally (in the sense that no inference could be made as to whether or not he knew she was in Ireland). The analogy of an Island that was tied to the larger landmass could not have been more elegant, a bridge of sand built naturally between the two, his ability to see it now, thrown into relief. Surfacing out of the universal unconscious sea by revealing herself for the first time was the equivalent of meeting on the sand and offering him an ocean beyond his wildest dreams; he’d had no idea this might be transpiring universally. He may have even had no idea there was an existing “her”. She had run when she committed the severance and the struggle was such in the present that there was a very real risk of it disappearing once more, (as it had just shriveled into nothing for her, hearing him on The Barge). There was a subtle interplay (perhaps) between “you run from love and don’t believe, unless it catches you by the heel, and even then you struggle”, and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, (which in terms of “The Ground She Walks On” and where that had sprung, could not have been more natural and provided for no inference he might have assimilated what she revealed to him, at all).
The last (fourth) “proof” Bono had received had been an explanation of what had happened to her and what she’d done in committing the severance, by depicting it in terms of all the symbolism she’d discovered in Orpheus and Eurydice (declaring this as themselves), explaining on her own terms how she’d been bitten by the serpent, how and why she’d died, to him. This subsequent employ of his at reversing it (so it was he attempting to catch her) very well could have been a deliberate inversion of the tragedy of the myth (or one of its variants, of the moment after their wedding when she was fatally bitten by a serpent), depicted here in Wikipedia thus: “Eurydice fell into a nest of vipers and she suffered a fatal bite on her heel.” There was something very deep caught in this nuance, rooted directly in her declaration inside this explanation of how “Love Comes Tumbling” signified the very beginning, and how the fate set in motion from that moment could have only caused the severance in the way it had taken place. She’d asserted the fatal bite had its moment on that night on Thanksgiving, 1995, and how “Love Comes Tumbling” caught the essence of foreboding of what was going to happen to her in 1987, its consequence, and was the first signatory of their union. But the implication he might have made with it here was precisely what she was yet to see, and hadn’t, what was really caught in that moment.
It was her footprints in the sand, the rendering of her on the shore by a series of artists via the feedback loop that had saved her, the tracks that hadn’t disappeared; in her writing to him she had pointed to several of them explicitly. And with her revelation to him, he may have discovered for the first time that his inspiration wasn’t not simply inspiration; he wasn’t alone in it, and that in turn provided him with a core co-identity, i.e., “home”, -maybe. But whatever you do, whatever comes of this, don’t let go. She had every intention of never doing so but the existing circumstances wielded their own weight, and what likely had more impact on the connection, or loss of it, was not simply her upset in that she regarded him as completely abandoning her, it was more the ramification of her choice, where that channeled the spectrum of her emotion. And quite simply if she had not committed and fully believed she was meant to be with someone else, she never would have even graced his presence by crossing the ocean. It was the removal of this whole spectrum or prospect in terms of himself that had liberated her to even find him at all.
This was immediately followed by “Stateless”, how the encounter had wounded. She’d disclosed to him point blank in what she considered the fourth level of potential proof (that of potential involvement) that the actual reason she was trying to confirm whether there was an existing connection at all (whether some sort of spiritual connecting had taken place between them) was in order to confirm whether they viewed a Divine injunction in common, so she was in effect carrying that with her because she felt due to the threat of damnation she’d been put under the person she expected prospectively to marry would have to be protected by this affirmation. In effect she’d erased exactly what the spiritual marriage might have prospectively meant in the course of telling him in the first place, but that was the only way she felt she could legitimately tell him at all since he was married.
“My tongue to tell you the sweetest lies” –by his own words there was no prospect, no future. With “Stateless” he accused her of seeking only the moment, or only the conclusion by seeking to establish it here, now, in the hope of a “prize”, effectively denying anything else in the course of her goals (her goal with him had been to verify the connection by establishing the circumstances she’d laid out in the God Proof really existed; nothing else had mattered in the context she approached him). She was only after the implication (the “prize”), and that quest had left her empty. Moreover she was demanding confirmation now.
That she sought to prospectively marry someone else happened to be a prize he already possessed, which meant that between him and herself all that could ever potentially exist was the present. Based on her expectation of how he should have dealt with her in the present (produced by how she’d opted to deal with him in the present), the prospect of this ever happening “tomorrow” had effectively vanished. Paradoxically what she was rejecting was the terminus she felt he put her in; from her perspective he offered nothing but an ephemeral “tonight” with no tomorrow; it had no future, and her attempt to meet him was an effort to establish the permanency that actually existed inside of it, its access of the eternal, by verifying its existence via communication.
That seduction was temporary was conveyed by his own addition (unknown to her) to “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” performed with Jools Holland. That tied the fall he’d perceived and felt, and his loss of her to the object in this song (3:49 –therein was caught the pain, (she never knew); -his added closure of “I’m sorry” maybe answering for the pain unleashed by PoP); his epithet to this addition was “I’ve got the whole night, and then we’re through”, because that was all there potentially was. How could he castigate her for refusing something so transient when she’d chosen not to potentially affect in any way something that ineffably wasn’t (his marriage), leaving her only with the goal? It struck her under the existing circumstances as hardly fair. It was a paradoxical problem, because if he wouldn’t acknowledge what it implied transcendentally, he’d reduced it to purely temporary, and since that was unacceptable, his inaction on her appeal to affirm it personally terminated all potential prospectus she could have inferred as existing inside his appeal completely and utterly, effectively ending it.
But here he implied her disavowal had in a sense taken away his home, coupled with the sorrowfully weighted “I’ve got you, and you are not mine” (exactly what she’d told him), and then proceeded with the most graphic sexual appeal he’d ever make, to “be your weight, go down on me”; to break the sense that was “stateless”, the way it was now. Her dismissal was complete as well as with ease, for her immediate mental rejoinder was “Well I can’t make myself any more tangible to you than by standing right in front of you, can I?” She viewed it purely as an analogy, the only way she could perceive it based on her choice to not affect him personally. She’d done exactly what the song had asked by showing up, and guess what, it hadn’t mattered. And if she wasn’t worth even speaking to, there certainly wasn’t any worth, to her, in seeking anything ephemeral. If it wasn’t worth establishing as veritable, it had no value (hence, “there’s no race, only the prize, there’s no tomorrow, only tonight”).
And that was effectively that. Her action and reaction were pretty much exactly what the song accused her of, however since she viewed it as the outcome he’d left her with, it had about as much effect as water off a duck’s back. (At this point she felt completely abandoned and felt that had caused the damage, rendering it “stateless”. Could she even be brought to care if he accused her of having done much the same in the manner in which she told him to begin with? To her mind he was the reason for all the emptiness she felt in the present.) She felt sorry for what the manner of her revelation might have cost him, but there had been no other choice.
He also enforced the existing context by climaxing the song with “you can cover the world with your thought, still so big, so bright, so beautiful” (another spot where everyone seems to have the lyric wrong), which was expressly what she had told him was happening to her all the time, not just with him but with about sixty or so other artists; quite curiously his reflection on this was imbued with a sense of loss, the same emptiness she felt at being trapped inside the self-same paradox with no affirmation from “the other side”. Since she felt he was to blame for this, in no way could she end up viewing “Stateless” as it might have been intended, as a form of deliberate counter. It was a requiem instead, representing everything he’d in effect denied by never responding to her existing person in real terms in the real world. She felt nothing; it was a requiem both ways.
“Falling At Your Feet” put him precisely in the expression she’d have done just about anything to avoid, that of going on his knees before her in a context larger than just himself, crawling to the threshold. She could at least feel she was there on time where she could have intercepted it (showing just how misplaced it was) had that been permitted to be possible, by her attempt to tell him the truth. “Falling at Your Feet” also expressed every meal she’d never tasted at the time where they meant little beyond survival and surviving was all that she was doing, and felt that everything that had mattered to her was being robbed out of her existence while she was forced to remain there. “Falling at Your Feet” as homage was rendered utterly meaningless when he wouldn’t even bother to address her face to face. She could at least feel thankful that its import was effectively erased by having shown up at his door. She’d arrived before he’d ever had to go on his knees. She’d succeeded at least in making it impotent in terms of having any potential connection to her, the moment it came out. It meant nothing now when he couldn’t deal with her at all in real terms. Actually she felt she’d succeeded in intercepting both songs (“Stateless” as well) by irrevocably altering the context just by appearing at all, for “Stateless” had been where she’d always feared he’d go. Her revelation of her intent to be with someone else had effectively erased this context ever prospectively happening between her and him. Since she hadn’t mattered to him enough for him to respond to her as an existing individual there was literally no hope in hell he could ever prospectively seduce her mentally, not when his inaction had effectively rendered the connection, to her mind, as either inconsequential or utterly valueless. It wasn’t real; in terms of her, it meant nothing. It was safely, conclusively back inside the definition of being just art. In terms of never prospectively infringing upon his vows, she’d had every intention of stopping him; how she’d framed the context of her revelation in the context of her own choices effectively did it.
“Dancin’ Shoes” expressed the present situation accurately in terms of the analogy of the room; -where she’d placed herself in terms of him, refusing to cross the threshold (whereas he’d stated she’d crossed in the past), combined with how she was now coming apart in insurmountable pain as she came to terms with existing in isolation inside the connected awareness, sacrifice to the bigger picture; “learning to walk in those dancing shoes” captured the acceptance of the role, “you’re talking the walk ‘cause you can’t refuse”. This was especially pointed since she’d articulated the role to him in print for the very first time. But they were now in the position where all his words did (in affirming the situation might be the situation) was augment her sense of loss at how little it had mattered to him to actually react. This pain was all she felt; it was “Dancin’ Shoes” exactly.
As for “Never Let Me Go”, she didn’t think she was fleeing or struggling at all (whereas per “Dancin’ Shoes” she’d fully acknowledge coming apart), unless of course, it was viewed in the sense of escaping being inexorably harnessed to something that would take and subsume all her emotion when it didn’t actually value it, to the extent of not even being capable of acknowledging she existed to her face. Not a struggle against love, but its potentially becoming invisible to the point of non-existent. Here he expressed her being pitted against love, fighting and fleeing for fear of it/him. She couldn’t even register this personally, the limbo he’d induced produced too many variables, as had her choices; the struggle had too many variables and was so broad as to have a universal or monotheistic quality, for she was fighting God most of all. The analogy of “unless is catches you by the heel” had the almost Biblical quality of kicking against the pricks, spoken apparently by God at Paul’s moment of conversion (a conversion forced by an irrevocable vision of God (Paul’s free will was effectively suspended by proof in terms of his own perception), the event that unleashed Christianity upon the world). To her, the struggle approaching Bono had induced was far more fundamental, in that on all levels it had been existential, and that affirmation he’d refused to grant. So yes, with respects to her boundaries and expectations, her resistance could be viewed as fighting the existing circumstances tooth and nail. She utterly refused these conditions, rejecting that they succeeded in fulfilling a definition of love at all. If she was what made him real, then he d*** well ought to have conferred that with respects to her if he wanted [it/her/him] to even exist at all. Especially after he’d declared he wouldn’t rest until she was found? “Let me rescue you”? Could she have made the prospect of what she so desperately needed from him any simpler than by boiling it down to a simple “yes” to a simple yes or no question (is this happening, or not)? Which he wasn’t even capable of?
That said his appeal in the existing context to “never let me go” was not something from which she distanced herself, quite the opposite. It was just wholly displaced in the sense that it captured the existing circumstance while at the same time everything inside it had been taken away with neither being fully aware of the cause, except where they respectively imputed it, which in light of the conflict between what she’d sought (platonic affirmation in the tangible real world), and what was possibly expressed here in “Stateless” (erotic fulfillment inside the intangible, which was, as far as she was concerned, such an existing impossibility she could only view it as some sort of analogy) lay at such complete cross purposes they weren’t even registering. He was asking for seduction that couldn’t even exist; she felt she could not have been left more utterly alone. And not being able to perceive this just generated an overall sense of confusion compounded twice over by the ambiguity she felt he’d inflicted on the situation (if it even was the situation, and there you have it).
Every affirmation inside his art carried a sense of loss of what it irrevocably no longer meant thanks to her having crossed the ocean, which altered her perception of it so completely she was brought to the threshold of questioning whether it ever existed or even mattered, quite simply because standing in front of him face to face had rendered the appeal in “The Ground She Walks On” complete and utter fiction, except by virtue of what she’d made it mean, nothing else, which was a form of removal in itself. Obviously he’d never meant it literally, or didn’t recognize, in the least, when his object was standing right in front of him, or, better yet, the naming of his son indicated he probably had known, yet it simply hadn’t mattered enough to act. Not even if the meaning she’d presented compelled nothing of him interpersonally; and therein lay the paradox. She’d tried to make it the least potentially culpable for him she possibly humanly could. But she’d also put it irrevocably to the test; the reality litmus had failed. It did not matter enough to deal with in reality, or couldn’t be recognized as an existing reality. Hence her regard of the connection (if indeed it was) would never be the same, for it had no hope of holding what she’d hoped or believed anymore; for her it had been real, and fully literal, right up to the moment “The Ground She Walks On” came to mean nothing at all. He hadn’t rescued her when she desperately needed him to, when all that would have taken was a simple “yes”. So was the disappearance that she’d sought and required next to nothing as an outcome, effectively reducing what it could have meant, or because even at its lowest common denominator (notwithstanding the ramification of just affirming the existing structure was massive in itself, and paradoxically the biggest outcome that could possibly be made of it), even at this level of reduction, he still could not act? If he didn’t have the courage to stand for the least of what it demanded, the bedrock on which it stood, how dare he expect the most?
A sort of ultimate sleight of hand had taken place inside her perception; she’d never know the difference and curiously didn’t. The effect of the feedback relation continuing in this context between her and him denied it had ever existed with her (by failing to react to her in the real world) while all the while expressing that it did. Or was this what she was supposed to accept? Establishment of a connectivity hitherto unperceived that could even exist intangibly? Was it disservice to have sought the least when to grant the connection what it fully meant could have potentially demanded making love on the spot, what he was asking for intangibly and she under the existing circumstances refused? Did the demand of a tangible response run the risk of denying the relevance of what already, intangibly existed? These types of fears had frozen her in inaction for years. Now she’d effectively removed the other threats that had indeed immobilized her, she’d taken action against the unspoken fear anyhow (with very bad net results).
The dilemma made her think of male and female protagonist in Weaveworld (a novel by a Vancouver author); they never got together ‘til the very end. -The reason? -Having experienced both heaven and hell together, “anything else would surely be bathos”. What could be of significance when they already had something beyond what lovers could dream, between them they held the potential of a world? It was part of the reason, before, that she’d decided to never tell. They could reduce or collapse the collective awareness inside their humanity, even just by collectively being not quite consciously aware of it. And then there was the age-old adage; the fear familiarity would breed contempt, wreak disillusionment on all the potentials they’d wrought in between; in this instance, her particular back-story would blow it up like an atom bomb. There seemed a terrible crushing paradox in the fear of entering normalcy; would that be concession in itself, denial of the very thing that had happened, the implication of seeking “ordinary love” being that what had happened simply wasn’t enough? It was a paradox that had scared her a great deal. I mean, heaven forbid, wouldn’t be laughable in having it answer itself that way, if all they ended up doing was breaking up?
Here was the crowning irony, the fact that he continued to respond inside it in terms of his art affirmed every aspect of their still being connected in the context she’d actually put forward to him, (purely platonic because he’d deliberately confined it to his art, while she’d likewise confined it to being platonic by informing him she thought she was going to marry someone else, which at the very least seemed to have prospectively transpired reciprocally mind to mind at this juncture). Because it would still (and in fact more than ever) be the sum of his expression, it hadn’t disappeared at all. And therein lay the sleight of hand no one noticed. They were never letting go, but of what, exactly? Let go? -Of course not. Never!
At the same time, the loss of what in fact existed inside that connect was truly incalculable due to a lack of personal affirmation, especially when the loss couldn’t be ascertained. Strangely while so much of her interior feeling towards him was effectively, completely and utterly wiped out, the sorrow at which felt like it was killing her, he would affirm everything she’d ever believed about it as still taking place, simply by the effect that he continued on the exact same tact and subject matter, expressing the transformation she’d asserted had taken place via redemption and going on to assert the God identity, which was precisely the affirmation she’d asked him to grant face to face. He did respond in the parameters she’d handed over, just not in the way she’d asked him to, which to her denied everything. As per the same token, she was in complete denial, perhaps, of where they really stood being the opposite; it was the opposite form of personal affirmation he sought, exactly what she’d ever so deliberately wiped out, blanket denial from the opposite direction by neutering the context permanently. So quite curiously it may have been that both were acting in mutual denial of what each sought of the other in the moment. It’s rather hard in this context to cast aspersion on either tact or belief of the root cause of the loss if you think about it, but the wound would never be erased.
The interior joy unleashed by his subsequent affirmation was tempered and overwhelmed by the loss of it having never been affirmed tangibly in reality (which she actually needed for her own protection), which effectively meant such a landmark transformation and the existence of “God’s glue” and an existing common universal human connection was effectively denied to the world, because it effectively denied her. And sadly it didn’t matter to her anymore to know whether or not it could or should have been different, because unless it could be reciprocally acknowledged as existing in the real world, person to person, to her mind, it never had, and never would.
She could now only prospectively assert the connectivity’s potential existence through herself, via the redemption and the apparent collective awareness of having been born again. Did that retain or lose something essential in terms of a collective definition arising, in essence, out of mutuality? Did her personal emotional sense of loss reign, or did her rationalization of how she’d threaded the eye win out? Well no one really had any clue of where the ramifications actually lay; she was literally thinking it up as she went along while he was asserting the emptiness sprang from quite the opposite; “I’ve got you and you are not mine”; basically by her coming forward in a manner that removed the potential eroticism that could have existed between at a distance completely and utterly, by virtue of her choice to offer this potentiality to someone she thought she could prospectively actually end up being with.
And after all, it was not at all convincing to her that these first subsequent songs bore any relation at all (though they didn’t strike her as being tooled to the movie). They just happened, it so happened, to fit (if a little oddly). Mainly because they were as sad as she was. Instead of lifting the debate as to whether this was even happening, which had been her entire purpose for going (and the only purpose she could have prospectively made of it), crossing the ocean had merely solidified it in limbo, and that was the net effect, as well, of Million Dollar Hotel.