Yesterday as I sat in traffic, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw one of those couples. One of those couples that can scare you. Their car was a rumbling, rusty and older model Buick. Their windshield was gray and dry-looking with dirty rain. Their mouths formed a broken, upside-down U; it almost formed the visual arc in the symbol that can be found between where some of us begin, continue and eventually end.

What do we hope for? What is it in the electricity of affection and understanding that send millions to some heart soldier version of the great poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est”? Or maybe even “Take This Waltz”? Ask me at any point in my life — broken, euphoric, numb, horny, content, or just lonely… and my answer is always the same. Is love worth the risk? YES. Yes it is.

Living can slowly grind us down to some smoothed but smaller version of ourselves. It’s not love alone — it’s our relationship with what we thought the world was, or is; it’s a war between dreams and the future. And the present is not unlike the trench where shots are fired and wounds are cauterized or the perfect hill where fireworks are launched. For me, it’s often the promise in a woman’s eyes that recalls what I find beautiful in the world. Not to mention their figures. I don’t mean that as a misogynist, but just in appreciation for that eternal promise beauty makes. But architecture, music, memory, conversation and words can do it too. Many things inspire hope, or fuel it. It’s good to be shaken into appreciation of what we take for granted some days…sometimes too many days.

But what happens? Why is the familiar often so resented or numbing? I don’t know. Maybe it’s ego, disappointment or mortality. Maybe it’s adventure and the arc of every story. If you’re in the middle of your great story, you should engage yourself completely with it. Things do end, but sometimes they don’t have to. That’s where poetry is. That’s where real music is.

Some Streets Lead Nowhere” is a song. And above all, it’s trying to regain something that is almost lost. Because in language and honest revelation there’s hope, and possibly redemption, even reclamation. We should be careful not to sleepwalk. Because to live as though what you have is somehow less than what happiness endures, or to bow and become the skin and teeth of that nagging feeling that something better waits in some other room, is no way to live.

I can’t tell you where I’ve been now darling
There are hawks inside my head
And every smile and every good thing are picked at ’til they are dead
I love you was all she said
That’s all she said

From that old street
to that new house
to those beautiful hills
Inside your blouse
To the rain that kept falling
And those years off the rails
When we smiled like two sailors
With holes in our sails
When I’d turn to a coma
With a black hole in my chest
When a kiss was the cure
& I’d save my breath
When you’d walk to the bedroom
& I’d fall on the couch
If I wasted your beauty
I’ll ignite it somehow
Cause a dream can be cruel
When it haunts you like this
With your eyes like a deer
And the words from your lips
What I’m trying to say is
I was afraid that you’d leave
So I slept with my failures
And I started to grieve

Purchase Matthew Ryan’s new single, “Some Streets Lead Nowhere,” at iTunes.