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Sand and Smiles

Elise Burke’s homage to her sister stirred near forgotten memories from when I was twenty-three and purchased Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE. I wanted to know what The Beach Boys were about, more importantly, what they were about that had been put away for so long. How could rejection and something that sounded so joyous be one in the same? Maybe it was simply the rejection that intrigued me.

Burke’s well-executed introduction provided enough detail that the descriptions contained something recognizable for me, too. I was unable to remain in the backseat of a Chevy that was thumping Ace of Base or lamenting my stolen clementine crate of cassettes within a few sentences. Resounding intimacy could be found in “Enduring surgeries, treatments and false hopes.” I wanted to know this child of wilting youth, still vibrant in part because of quirky harmonies and bizarre lyrics. I read of her precious life and cradled her into a metaphor for my own dying youth and needs for silly, smiling, and dysfunctional.

The incorporation of Ferris wheel halos, heaven-sounds, and assumptions altered the focus from complete suffering to a reality maintained in smiles and rhythms.

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