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Jay Tower

from Strange Tales by John Plainsong

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Based on an article about a man who suffered from amnesia.
"Jay Tower" from People Magazine:

What was most striking about the man who called himself Jay Tower when he arrived at Chicago's Pacific Garden Mission homeless shelter in August of 2005 was how little baggage he seemed to carry, emotional or otherwise. He arrived without money, ID—or any memory of his past life. Still, says Mike Dunn, the shelter's assistant security director, "he was polite, considerate of others and cooperative. I always told him, 'Jay, it's a pleasure dealing with you.'"

Only the following February was the mystery solved, when a friend at the shelter spotted his photo on an America's Most Wanted Web site and realized "Jay" was actually 57-year-old Raymond Power Jr., a New Rochelle attorney and former police officer whose desperate wife and children had been searching for him ever since he suddenly disappeared seven months ago. "There are no words to express our happiness over Ray's return," says his wife of 30 years.

In a telephone interview, Mrs. Power said that her husband, a Vietnam War veteran, had been treated for depression since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, both with medication and counseling.

Mr. Power walked between the two towers 15 minutes before the first plane hit, she said. She believes that September 11 dredged up painful memories of Vietnam.

For his part, Power seems to be aware that he's still far from the end of his journey. "He's very happy to have found his family, but realizes it's going to be a long road," says Sue Power. "He's home, but in a life he doesn't know anything about."


Please don't help me remember.
Don't give me more clues.
I feel better off far from the memories,
Miles from the facts and the news.
But when I look in your eyes, I can just see a trace;
Like frost on a window a breath could erase.
And if I open the door for you,
What if it all rushes through?

I saw planes in an orange sky.
I saw jungles in flames
I heard noises like lightning, like thunder,
Like concrete falling like rain.
So don't wake me from slumber,
I'd rather forget.
And I'd rather be empty than full of regret.
But could you teach me to hold on
to just all the sweet things in life?

Some might say I'm a weak man,
But they don't realize,
That there's only so many things one man can see
'fore he just shuts his eyes.
And you ask me to put all the pieces in place,
But the puzzle belongs to the whole human race
And if we don't work to solve it
Then maybe we're all hypnotized.


from Strange Tales, released January 1, 2020
Written by John Baker.
Guitar, sax, keyboard, drums, vocals: John Baker.
Upright Bass: Steve Watson.


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John Plainsong Battle Ground, Washington

John Plainsong is a songwriter and performer in SW Washington.

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