“We can deal with rockets and dreams, but reality? What does it mean?” – Curtis Mayfield
Track number 9 on The Book of Jonah is the instrumental “Rockets and Dreams”. Like the album’s opening track, “A Hustler (In Spite of Myself)“, this song was originally part of the score I composed for Detroit native Lee Martin’s independent film, Top Ten Things I Love/Hate About The Hood. And like “A Hustler”, the title is adapted from one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield Superfly lyrics.
The recording always reminds me of my cousin, Jeff Turk, who passed away in 2006, so I dedicate it to his memory. I imagine Jeff leaned back in his wheelchair, vibing to the music. He exhales through his nostrils to clear the smoke from his lungs, and nods in agreement… “Yeah.”
Jeff’s birthday would have been on November 8th. The blog I wrote five days after his funeral (reposted below with the poem my brother James K. McFarland, wrote and read at the service) tells some of Jeff’s story, but fails to capture his humor, his charisma, his intelligent, and complex nature. “Rockets and Dreams” does that a little better.
Happy Birthday, man. I miss you a lot.
My cousin John Frederick (Jeff) Turk passed away on Good Friday, April 14, 2006. He was 37 years old.
Jeff was 12 hours younger than me. I was born November 7 at 8:27pm and he followed at about 8:20 the morning of the 8th. Our mothers are sisters, and the family called us “the twins”.
Losing a loved one so close to you is always a difficult thing, but Jeff was a very special person, and those of us who knew him are all deeply affected by his transition.
When we were 19 years old Jeff had a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. For the past 18 years, he suffered from bed sores, kidney problems and several other maladies. He had no control over his bladder functions and could not walk or feel his legs. [Read more…]