29 November 2003

heres what i really did for thanksgiving:

thursdays are the best days, they are the days that make me actually want to be a guest on a celebrity cruise, the days that make me see how really beautiful it can be, how happy everyone is. there are three things that happen: the baked alaska parade, spotlight broadway, and le grand buffet.

baked alaska is the best, so ill save that for last. spotlight broadway is our final production show, and it makes me happy just because i have such a close relationship with so many of the shows: the music man, les miserables, west side story. the les miserables section i particluar leaves me tearyeyed, as i think ive mentioned before (my family took me to this show several times as a youngster, thank you much!!). "tomorrow well discover what our god in heaven has in store!"

le grand buffet is amazing: its the final midnight buffet, served in the grand formal dining room, and there is lobster and beef wellington and exotic cheese and over two dozen creamy cakes. for thanksgiving, i sat at a table with amazing people: anna, a lovely slovakian who told me about how great communism was (i impressed her with my pro-indian thanksgiving explanation and my political fantasies of a euro-asian attack on the us); paul, a trombone player who was extremely impressed with the small chocolates available in a box also made of chocolate; and best of all, steven, jamican keyboard player, and sasha, beauty specialist from south africa. steven was hitting on sasha in the most obscure ways; at one point he turned to me and said, in a barely comprehensible martini drawl, "you see man, when god make the woman, he asked adam. yes? he asked him, what do you want? because you see (pointing to sasha) you see, he knew what we want, yes man?" sasha blushing, clevage dangerously emerging. so it was a great dinner. and there was indeed some turkey.

but baked alaska parade!!! this is what it is: the band (trumpet trombone alto clarinet bass drums and me) gathers in the martini bar as the guests are finishing their dinner (and there are two seatings, so we get to do this twice). we wait, and watch as waiters start to collect in the foyer. each waiter is holding a silver platter with a beautiful, unlit baked alaska on it (this is an ice cream cake covered in meringue which is later set on fire. i once tried to make one for cwg and ended up setting her floor on fire).

when the restaraunt manager tells us it is time, we march through the restaurant, a strong tuxedoed force, to the top of the balcony, where a piano, a snare drum and a podium wait. the cruise director, eric, stands at the podium like a minister, and we play a fanfare, then "the best of times", as eric introduces the head chef, the pastry chef, the maitre d', other important people. each is given generous applause. then the head waiters, we switch to the rocky theme, and each waiter is cheered and saluted by their tables; you can tell who the best waiters are because their tables cheer the loudest. everyones pretty excited by this point, theyre all turned in their chairs and enjoying their coffee or brandy, and the satisfaction of their richly filled bellies, but now: listen.

the music stops. the crowd waits. eric speaks. "ladies and gentlemen, now please get your napkins ready, as our entire restaurant and bar staff joins us for our grand baked alaska parade!" a drum roll, and then trumpet hits the pickups to "when the saints come marching in". and the dining room is flooded with people, waiters and cooks and bartenders, and over a hundred of them are holding baked alaska platters, now lit, the overhead lights dimmed so you can see all the mystery blue flames floating through the restaurant, and those without platters are clapping their hands, lord i want to be in that number, and they are smiling and running up and down the stairs and the cruise director is dancing at the podium. and each guest, every single one of them has taken their beautiful white linen napkin and is twirling it over their heads. there are nearly 1000 people doing this, these swirling white circles, the world of joy turning. looking down, i see the restaurant an ocean of blue flame and white waves, and the sound of cheering and dixieland clarinet is deafening, and people are just smiling, and hooting, and hollering!! its a purely beautiful moment. it lasts a while, too, a good six choruses, and the piano isnt miked so i remember an old bukowski poem and play the piano like a percussion instrument until the fingers bleed a bit. and then, as it ends, the napkins go down, hands are joined, memory is created and we sing "auld lang syne". everyone holding hands and swaying. so nice! it finishes, i go into a solo gospel coda, and eric announces the names of each celebrity ship, each one answered with a cheer, and then finally the constellation, and everyone cheers again, a last chrous of auld, and then its over. we march out and people thank us on our way, and i am so grateful to hear their thanks.

man now tell me thats not something!

19 November 2003

on veterans day after the production show the cruise director stood on the stage and asked the veterans in the audience to stand and be applauded. they did; there were many. many old men standing and smiling, and the applause was deafening.

two films: matrix revolutions last saturday (i wont get into it, but man! what happened to the buddhist promise of the first movie? the enlightenmnt allegory, the idea of awakening into the real world, of realizing that capitalist western culture is just an illusion? why give that up for some c- high school meandering on determinism and some easy christianity? i still had fun though. especially liked bad guys on ceiling, good guys on ground. anyway.) and a reviewing of the two towers (again, i wont get into it, but man! the number of contrived dramatic peaks and valleys made me feel christmas candy sick after a while) in the cruise ships cinema earlier today. in both, scenes of men preparing for war. the masculine shouts of men ready to die. the dramatic placement of a helmet onto a frightened teenaged head. et cetera.

on the ship, fat men, drinking, rude, poorly dressed.

on land, thin men, sweating, fearsome, barely dressed.

on the television, bush in britian, defending war. in the staff mess, a collective cosmopolitan grumble.

two books: franzen's the corrections (a book i have avoided for a long time because of its ubiquity; every san francisco party i go to has it there on the shelf, tucked between manufacturing consent and lonley planet: south america. but i liked it), which discusses mental illness in the setting of domestic suburbia, men in depressive states, and thoreau's walden, which discusses individuality and the dangers of blind adherence of custom. "i have never learned anything from old men." what a badass he is! what a man he is!

jts, paraphrasing robert bly: the soft man, the sensitive man, out of touch with his primitive masculinity, with his roughness, lust and bloodthirst.

mcw on masculinity: "the best thing to do to a group of men is put them to war, give them a task, a goal. heres a gun, now go!"

a book from my childhood, real men dont eat quiche. the sensitive overcompensation of the alda male.

on the ship: complaining. companing about bureacracy, about vapid things. men whining over fingernails, life and death unknown.

a song played tonight, in the jazz club, trio: when i fall in love (...it will be forever). i play very sensitively.

jem, drunk, on a college stoop, lamenting the shallowness of academia: "lets get a gun. lets get a gun."

pk, (what is your middle name pk?) on the subject of the hypothesized new american revolution: "historically, people dont rise up unless they are starving."

all of these things.

they fit together, i know they do. here we have men who have fought in wars. here we have men who have not. not just the individuals, i mean the whole group of men, my peers, my great wonderful male friends spread out over america, who have never known the terror of actually having their lives in danger. and our minds reel and rock! our minds shake with religion and politics, wth art and love! going crazy with metaphysical speculation and women and god and music and wind. crazy. the world seems paper thin at times. sometimes i cant tell if im waking or dreaming. sometimes i get sad enough to shake.

but in contrast, in contrast this all seems rather ridiculous, and i wonder if my generation hasnt missed out on something essential. give me a gun. i dont want it. now listen- i dont want it. but maybe i need it. to understand something real, with consequnce that i can biologically feel, with terror running through me that will silence my intellectual nosoul and bring me back to my evolutionary assignment, to live at all costs. i dont want it, i think thats part of it, not wanting it but doing it anyway, because choice is taken from you. because your family will be killed. not iraq or vietnam; more like wwI or II (for europeans), the civil war. our production show "spotlight broadway!" ends wth a les miseables medley. the french revolution. theres a fucking war. "will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and fight with me?". those kinds of wars, where its in your backyard.

i know im sitting here glorifing (isnt there a y in that word?) war from a pretty plush position. what the hell do i know of it. i wouldnt be saying this if i knew. but thats the point, thats the point. my plush position. its despicable, its fat and slovenly, its unmasculine. its complacent. so much of myself and my geneation has become complacent in action, filled with words of questioning spirit and political anger and energetic connection but lacking in the barbaric action that creates history. the emails i get, the pleas to write to my congressman, sign this petition. a lack of action. a lack of violence.

so maybe i need a gun and a war.

but i wont, i know i wont. because im not hungry, im happy, happy with my eyes closed. and the radical left will never rise up in violence, and the fat men on the ship will drink, and articles will be read, and love songs will be played, and acid trips will show us the stars inside of ourselves, and it will be fine and beautiful and under no threat.

and maybe this is wonderful, maybe that absence of terror is a vital step in evolution, maybe grassroots campaigning will actually get compassion into office, maybe peace is a real and viable goal. its a hard call though. it has no historical precedent, this life without fear.

perhaps it will end in global enlightenment, the men in their indian shirts smiling and dancing.

perhaps it will end in global holocaust, the men in their college tshirts picking radiation boils off of their bloated bellies.

i suppose we will see.

17 November 2003

i had a really difficult time putting on my t-shirt this morning.

13 November 2003

floating meditation

enter the caribbean sea.
swim to an empty piece of water
float on your back
close your eyes.

your ears submerged
your legs close to the surface
your arms loosely wherever the water takes them
your body loosley wherever the water takes it.

float for a while,
wonder at it.

now spend some time with the breath.
youll be able to hear it
because of the water
so start with the breath and the sound.
thats two.

your eyes are closed.

breath, ears, just these two, until you can concentrate on both at the same time. at the exact same time. they are similar enough. dont listen to one and then the other; dont feel one and then the other. do it at the same time.
float with this for a while.

you may moan a little,
you may whimper.

now find your hands.
dont move them
just find them
and let them float towards your hair.
now find your hair.
dont move it
just let it float towards your hands.

now interlace the two
and feel your hair with your hands.

breath, sound, touch.
your eyes are closed.

try to feel your hair at the same time that you hear your breath.
exactly the same time;
do not listen a moment after you touch
or touch a moment after you listen.
even if these moments travel at the speed of light,
it is too slow.
it must be instant, unseparatable
breath, sound, touch, three senses.
lungs, mouth, nose, ears, fingers, hair
quite a few.

this will take a while
but dont go on until you can do it all at once.

find your feet.
do not move them
just find them
and find how they feel
find the water that is touching them.
they are so far away!
your feet are so far away, but you must travel all the way down, past your neck and heart, belly and groin, legs and ankles, to your feet, and find them.

your eyes are closed.

dont forget your breath
or the sounds
or your fingers and your hair
and dont forget the sea
and the wonder of your floatation.
feel your feet and your hair at the same time
do not let a moment pass between the two sensations,
do not let the length of your body fool you.

this is not juggling;
do not toss the ball of breath into the air as soon as the ball of your feet is remembered. rather, this is holding all the balls at once, in the center of the palm of your hand.

have you dont this?
are they all there?
breath and sound, hair and finger, foot and water?
find more.
find salt on your mouth
find sun on your face
find hunger in your belly
place each ball with the others
find the surface of your knee
find the muscles of your arm
find the tiny interior sensations that travel throughout your torso
place each ball with the others and never let one drop
until you are nothing but sense
lacking concept
lacking thought
nothing but floating.

and now:
open your eyes.

10 November 2003

maybe just fruit.
the waiter comes to you, you stare at the reclining jaguar across from you, a cigarette dangling form his finely comed paw, and the waiter asks you, anything for desert.

and the selections are paraded in on a scarf of yellow silk that circumnaviagtes the room with an eerie levitation that is neither wind nor magnet, just a still sense of being, that silk belonging at a level of waist with no propulsion or support. this is where the deserts are presented. the plates royal in with tiny japanese flute fanfare: creme broo lay. german choco cao. a deep vanillish mousse. pecan pipi. sweet sugar, refined and studied. sculpted. by men.

oh these men think they gods.

but there at the end, a small dish, white and curved imperfectly, containing only a slice of starfruit, a half pear and one bursting cherry. they catch the light in new ways.

"which will you choose, monsieur"
"oh," the great cat says in his rough english accent, "oh, oh. oh. yes. the fruit dish. i will have the fruit dish. liason!"

later, as you suck on your choco mintively, you wonder why such ocelot is smiling so much bigger than you. why he is laughing at the moon, with his fingernails shining.
"a bite, will you?"
yes, yes you will. and you do. and fruit! fruit! fruit! fruit!

bells of silver on yon tongue...

dont forget fruit.
when he comes and asks the question,
dont forget.

08 November 2003

this post falls apart at the end.

i just got back from the mall in san juan (its raining). it was fucking crazy- the auto show was on, so many people, so much spanish, and there was a marching band- a whole high school fucking marching band- inside the mall, their pressurized trumpets and gastrointestinal bass drums turning the usually distinct edges of my thoughts into so much dimly warming gelatin. the book store, though, was home to one of the largest and most comprehensive philiosophy/metaphysics sections i have ever seen, brimming over with obscure texts by people like quine, names ive seen but have no beraings on, all the more impressive because it was bilinigual, all the more the more impressive because it was in no apparent order, the spanish and english and philosophy and divination guides all lumped together in a sprawling double aisle. all the more the more the more impressive because while they had absolutely no copies of "conversations with god", a channeling text that jdk once recommended, they did have over a hundred copies of "conversiciones con dios dos" (though, again, none of uno). these dispursed randomly throughout the rest of the section, in small clusters of four or five. i felt a bit overwhelmed, thumbed through some alan watts, then some foucalt and derrida, starting feeling like an asshole, ran to the counter to pick up stephen kings new dark tower book so id feel less like an asshole and more like a dork, (by the way, if i can convince even one of you, even one of you that these dark tower books are masterpieces, poetic flights of imagination, thrilling pieces of metaphysical fantasy that are the heir to cs lewis and jrr tolkein, and demand your attention, i would be happy. by my count, only two people potentially reading this thing have read these books. they are at my house and i give anyone permission to go and steal them), then returned and bought some wittgenstein, which im certain i will read about twenty pages of before throwing overboad.

i thought to myself, what i would really like is a book that tells me how to deal wth this:

this morning the coast guard inspected the ship. this means: we had to wait in our cabins, in uniform, until the alarm sounded (an hour later then planned), then don our lifejackets and proceed to our emergency stations. my station is in the photo lab, amidst many attractively framed portaits of happy cruisers (why not put your photograph onto a canvas?) i am to guide guests to their muster stations, then help divide the group of 463 guests who are to gather in my muster station (station B) into lifeboat capacity sized groups of 146. which clearly isnt going to work in a real emergency. but anyway, for the drill, which is of course guestless (today is embarkation day), once we get to our positions, we have to stand there, for a very long time, while the fire crews put out simulated fires in the galley and hypothetical men overboard are rescued (the code for man overboard, by the way, is "OSCAR OSCAR"), each lifeboat station reports to the bridge, blah blah blah. the upshot being that we had to stand in our positions, in lifejackets, for nearly an hour; then, we were told to return to our cabins for another drill, in which we did the same thing, only now the fire was in the print shop. all in all, a good two hours of quiet, uncomfortable standing.

so there i am, standing. i am very aware of the ship crews general proclivity for complaining, which i seem to be alone in finding intimately distasteful. i really dont like complaining. i really, really dont like it. i dont like talking about things that are unfair or stupid or irritating. bitching. i find it deeply unattractive. so i am accepting the situation, but am yet still in the situation. i feel time around me. and so my brain occupies itself, first with random thought, then with careful metathought about what i am thinking about, then with self-concious attempts at no thought. most of these consisted of staring at a spot on the starfish patterned carpet until my retinas started to pulse and give the floor that hallucinogenic breathing whirling effect that all of you lsd users know all to well (which, by the way, is another reason that i am more and more accepting of jc's reaction to having an out of body experence once on college while on lsd. i asked him what he thought of the experience, in spiritual/consciousness terms, and he said "i think i took too much lsd". i really, really love the empiricism of non francisco sometimes). so im doing these things, and then i start dancing a little, im smiling, i drum my fingers a little, et cetera. time. tick. and then after a while i just cant anymore, and it is humid and my lifejacket is heavy and chaffing and my legs hurt and sleep is still in my eyes and i am dehydrated, and i feel trapped, ludicrous, a pawn in an evil uncompassionate world. why cant i sit? i know the answer and find it wanting. i am hungry. these feelings are real. a smile remains, but now it feels like a facade. my pants itch.

but should i externalize these feelings? will a scowl, a bored half face like those i see around me, improve the situaution? is honesty more important then an attempt to improve?

here we seem to have a split in opinion. there are those that would ask me to embrace these honest feeling as true, acknowledge my rage and frustration, live in it and vent it. otherwise it may fester and cause stress in all sorts of seemingly unrealted ways. my problem with this is that when i find other people doing this i find it unattractive. i want to have nothing to do with those people. on the other hand, there are those that would ask me to continue emptying my mind, take the situation as an opportunity for meditation, reject the ideas of good and bad and recognize this as simply an experience which doesnt need to be qualified, realize that this is samsara and feel compassionate towards the people that are doing this to me. im a little more in line with this point of view, first off i definitely feel compassion, my rage is directed at a situation rather then any individuals, truly, and i am indeed making the most of my time and not sinking into the unattractiveness of negativity and complaint. i am not pissed off. but in the end, this approach strikes me as somewhat dishonest.

so the bookstore. while standing at boat drill, i started wondering how the dali lama would respond. or thich nat hahn. (while sitting here, i am wondering if i have spelled either of those names correctly). and today, at the bookstore, i started looking for that book. the book that talks about how to endure physical discomfort. and awkward bus conversations. and unrepentant waiters. and irritating airplane travellers. and stagnant dmv lines. because thats what i really need, now. a couse of action. so much theory, so many ideas, wonderful, beautiful, but i still live my life, and understanding something, giving something words, doesnt really give me insight into how to respond. how to act. wordless acts. how to position my eyes. the posture to assume. the tone of my voice. the angle of my smile. the color of my thoughts.

and then i stopped. i stopped looking for this book, for a reason i already knew, just forget sometimes.

it is same reason that i dislike string theory. string theory is an attempt to reconcile certain impossibilities that occur when quantum physics (the science of the very small) and relativity (the science of the large) intersect. an attempt to explain everything with one equation, one set of rules that will explain the movements of electrons and stars. ive read a couple books on this, and the writing is ludicrous. lud-i-crous. now the theory itself is pretty intersting, as a cool sci-fi concept, it says that the smallest thing in the universe is not a zero-dimensional point but rather a one-dimensional loop of vibrating string, (not literally string, though a four year old at my preschool found that idea irresistibly delightful), thus rejecting the idea of the infinitely small and taking all the limits approaching zero out of the denominators. thats neat. but the way they talk about this theory, oh man. they talk as if finding it could "explain everything". could make us "masters of the universe". could let us "see into the mind of god".

i mean, there are only so many words. we love words, we depend on them, they alone seem to make things real and transferable, but there are only so many. and they are so inadequate, so small, so barely a part of existence. all of these attempts at translation, all of these scientific theories and philosophical ideas and spiritual speculation are just woefully inadequate translations of indescribale, unrepeatable, untransferable experinces. yes? and if i become god tomorrow, ill never be able to let you know, because you cant feel my head. you dont know my memories or my heart rate, the feeling of the roof of my mouth that affects my every thought, and ive only got a few thousand words...it just wont ever work. an equation will not answer anything. and a buddhist text wont either. im not even gonna take my standby line and give music special status here; it may be wordless, but it still cant accurately, dependably transfer experience. you cant transfer the experience of knowing god, understanding the universe, because transfer is an act of translation, which is an act of language (even musical) and the retranslation will always be inaccurate because its being done by someone elses brain.

but the real crux is, is there even a question?

i mean the question is words too. the question. any question. the question only happens if you use words. you cant ask a question without them. how do we explain the universe? thats a six word quesion. you cant answer it without defining those six words, and you cant define those words without using other words. which are ultimately artifcial. representations of things that are subjective and unsharable. oh these words! its so cyclical...words only solve the problems that words themselves create.

so i know theres no book that tells me how to live in this situation. and i know that the dali lama couldnt tell me if i asked him point blank. and even if he could, (this is a whole nother story), but i think even if he could it wouldnt be some secret that transforms a bad experience into a good one. these dmv lines are real, and they are, and they are not prefered, and that is all. even if i could levitate. im still here. it doesnt really have anything to do with my spiritual path. there are no tricks.

though i still think complaining about it is unattractive.

though----this just occured to me---- does anyone remember that scene in hesse's demian when they are in sunday school and demian just kind of trances out, his eyes roll back, and hes just kind of gone? is that something? now wait. thats a good trick. should i learn how to do that?

oh now i dont know.


maybe im just not a good enough meditator.

i wish the dali lama was reading this. does anyone have his email address?

my legs did hurt. now they dont.
i will not talk about it again.

damn i wish i was a bird!

03 November 2003

in the morning i slowly emerge into a perfect blackness; the room, is perfectly dark. i am on the top bunk, enclosed with a curtain, two feet from the ceiling, and when i open my eyes, or shut them there is just the black fabric of the universe, as i have heard it called, that curious mutable pattern of starlight shimmering upon blackness when i close my eyes, when i open my eyes. specks of energy all but invisible and impossible to catch outside of the periphery. open my eyes, close my eyes, the blackness surrounds me and doesnt care whether i sleep or wake. it is always there. if i look away from the blackness, the shiny moments make shapes, demonic faces and angelic windblows that comfort me (confuse me) and answer my questions. today as i awake (10:30 am) led zeppelin is still playing in my discman, the headphones embedded in the side of my face. i made an mp3 cd of keith jarrett and led zeppelin before i came (ha!), so i fall asleep to piano crystals and awake to this drumbassguitarvocal sex machine. the song is the crunge and i find that im asking the lightblack beings that live on the surface of my dark eyes, "have you seen the bridge?". this is eerie, too, because two nights ago i saw almost famous for the first time, where the led zeppelin fan has a custom made t-shirt asking this same question. but have i? have i seen the bridge? my stupid fucking metaphysical molasses morning mind turns it into a real half conscious question, shimmering and indistinct yet visceral, have i found a bridge on this ship? where are those bridges to hypernonreality... the light faces break apart the moment i look at them. so dark. some times they laugh, i swear. sometimes i see presents wrapped in silver falling towards me, with nova bows, blue glitter on black pants.

up. up. bathe in vanilla. first to the talent show meeting. fire eater not allowed. lindsey will sing on the street where you live, and god i know that song, and i play it on a white piano well. florence wants love story or la vie en rose. im in the same boat on both songs; know the beginning, dont know the bridge. i tell her ill find them by tomorrow. she thanks me; shes four feet tall, 70 years old, and she tells me in her low wilting voice about her job as a singing waitress in north carolina oh, ill bet she stopped the band. look at her fucking eyes! eyes dont age. they stay glassy clear, able to absorb that dark fabric world when the light disappear and the wrinkled faces hidden under darkness. dakness is the absence of light. light is the fastest thing. i touch her arm; it is warm and clammy. 11:00 and ive already seen a bridge.

lunch. garbanzo, cucumber, tomato, fish, pork. a glass, a goblet of ice water. a cloth napkin. a tray. i sit with the dancers and make fun of their show with them. i tell them the story of the rite of spring riot. we laugh. we talk about marriage. smiles are bridges. i am not eating bread, rice, pasta or potatoes; just lots of meat. a modified atkins, i think, but have not researched.

i stop back in my room, looking for a different led zeppelin song. i find it...its that one, oh god it is so pretty, guitar and strings and then plant, "it is the springtime of my loving..." this song haunts me these days. it isnt hard to feel me glowing. i try to work it out before rehearsal, on the piano, but then the fucker polish violinist is here and wants to run through her fucking numbers, her loud voice, her awful stories, her arrangements of songs from lord of the dance that are a good twenty bpms faster then she can play them. the music vomits and i pound to be heard over the synthesized click track and i dislike her but admire her shoes and laugh inside and i am not upset, im not irritated, im happy and what a bridge, what an opportunity, oh dps i still remember that old buddhist line. i smile at her while playing a solo in tequila. its 1:00. she has a prerecorded piano playing with her on the chopin nocturne, the one in eb, no not that one, the other one, and its the one good piece of music in the show and its prerecorded because the woman is insecure and i wish i were playing. i love chopin. i think he understands me. i dont like this violin player. shoes, though. and her pretty smile.

then rehearse with the a capella quartet, lighthouse, an elton john number, bad chart, misflatted notes, singers in too many keys. a bad rehearsal. i rest my head on the piano whenever i can. there is a giant, three foot long pencil on the ground. then back.

to my room. led zeppelin again. that song is so pretty. the strings! oh, go listen to that song. i rememeber a conversation a few months ago with two of my favorites, a c and a t that rhyme, chinese food dance on the tongue! and which would you remove form the world, zeppelin or the stones? this song is changing my answer, for sure for sure. what is that chord? where did they find it? listen. listen. listen again. i am wearing sandals. i change into gym clothes and head upstairs, 3:00.

the gym, ellipticals, weights, my muscles a presence again, led zeppelin continuing to prove their worth. a bridge, for sure. the gym is on the 12th deck, front of the ship, and you look out onto the ocean rushing as you run in place ellipse, ellipse, hold on the sensors, heart rate, 150, 160, 170, my heart is speeding up, my heart runs blood through my body, my heart has rhythm, 50 minutes, my god. a soaked shirt. i tired leg. and another one. "ive been working form 7 to 11 every night..." next to me, age trots by and hey smile and i watch a man walk up to his wife and drink her water. a bridge. i head back, walking boldy through the passsenger areas that im not supposed to walk through, because i dont care; im looking for bridges, and there the pakistani cabin stewards about to give me another one. i smile at him by his cart and he smiles, good afternoon sir, and i see hes got that little bag of caramel chocolates that they put on the guests pillows and i flutter my eyelashes like a southern belle, god its fun to flirt with men, and ask him for one and he gives me two. "used to sing about the mountains, but the mountians wasted away". fuck! "aw...so good"!

i pass a couple in the hall... i overhear...."yes, im still looking for an awakening everyday." this from 60, bathing suit, robe, smells.

back to room. a quick listen to bob dylan, most of the time/what good am i. this is research for guilty pleasures. i start crying on the second listen. third listen. a bridge, to be here in this room alone with this music. the ship rocks back and forth. fourth listen and i have to go....

dinner quicks, taco beef and cantelope, a glass of ice water, then showtime. tuxedo. i read a mens health magazine backstage and learn the 27 sure signs that a woman is interested in me. i notice at least 23 are false. the sax player is messing with overtones again. then, shit, we are called, we are on, a show, a pause, then the same show again, violin and a capella, awful, just awful. and the woman keeps talking....oh how i want to reach down her throat and show her her poor heart, alive and beat beat beat and unveiled. how i want to build a bridge for her!

now. now. 10:00. tuxedo, remember. i walk through the lobby during break and there is the other piano player, the solo player, 55, bulgarian, enormous glasses, prominent chin. i introduce my self, and he says his name, and i cant understand him., it sounds like he has cotton in his mouth. "mmmmmeleolo- hmmph hmm hmmhph hmhp". oh my god. oh my god. i have heard this man play, he is beautiful. and he cant talk. he can talk, he has a speech impediment, for real, he just cant talk very well. speak to me only with your eyes... but this guy, he plays music instead. oh i love music. i ask him if he knows la vie en rose. and he starts humming it, i tell him i know the begginning, C, CM7, C6, c#o, d-, etc., and he walks to the shore excursions desk ("do you have a pen?" "right away mate!"?) and now we are seconds away from the most magical moment of the evening. he starts humming, la vie en rose, he stats moving his hands, he starts writing the chords down. and then he stops and looks up, smiling, to the string quartet a floor above us, up the grand central staircase. they are playing maria, gorgeous. and he smiles and mumbles in his low, "they are playing in c too", and thats why hes having a hard time, because the music he hears in is ears and his head are in the same key and thus heard to separate. i nearly faint with revelation. the music in his head and the music in his ears sound so alike that he cannot separate the two. oh im smiling. heres a bridge. heres a bridge. i stop for a moment...why the fuck are they playin maria in c? (its usually eb) but by now hes off, writing out the changes, and we are humming together, lovely. oh god.

i stop back at my room one last time to listen to that zeppelin song again. oh jimmy, oh god i love you.

then to the scotch bar, michaels club, for a trio gig. and i cant beleieve the shit im playing. i call the tunes and play so well, i havenet played this kind of music in three four years and i am playing it so well, a child is born, all blues, joy spring, goodbye porkpie hat. bill evans type shit. tasty i love this piano. its the white piano again. i love making jokes with the notes. i love getting really loud and then stopping and just playing a ninth up high, one note pretty and alone, plaintive, repeated until my heart cant take it any more. i love the way i move my legs. it isnt hard to see me glowing. i think about people ive loved, and people i long to love. at some point i have had some irish whiskey, by the way. on break, black russians, and a man buys us martinis for playing take five for him. we play for two hours, and im screaming out the names of the tunes like a falsetto cartoon..."that was when i fall in love...and now, another song staring with w!! w!! letter number 23! this is wave--mr. jobim!" and the people kind of stare when i talk but they really stare when i play and im soooooooooooooooo happy being here. heres a bridge. heres a bridge.

and then the night is over, 1:00, and i show the trombone played how to tie a toga, a bridge, and we go down to the crew toga party, im wearing my burning man sarong look, and we get there and jack and coke jack and coke and theres the pretty youth couselor and i tell her i like her shoes because the buckle is in the middle, not to the side where i would expect, but shes not having it and soon i space out and start listening to the music, my drink dancing with me in my hand. its anthem trance. anthem trance. how much anthem trance can one man take? how much anthem trance can one man take?

not much. not much.

so i stumble up the steps and find myself outside among cables and ropes and metal and there for some reason is a giant empty can of heinz chili sauce stashed in the corner, and i think theres a bridge, and then overboard i see the black and white ocean the waves white starlit and never still, luscious, i think of lips, i think of the movement of a woman, and i see in the black ocean again the fabric and light creatures smiling and winking at me on their way to heaven. oh ive got to go and so much so much sings to me today and everyday still and always always and i know how i smile and i know that its true, i know im smiling true, i want you to know, i want you to know too, i want you to smile with me too.

everywhere i look on the ship i see tiny little moving magics. depth perception is the result of your two eyes seeing things from a slightly diferent angle: if you walk into a room for the first time (so you have no memory of the depth) with one eye closed, you will have no depth perception and everything will seem flat. you wont know how far away anything is. you wont know how close anything is. you wont know where the bridges are.

oh ive got two eyes lord, i always have, ive got them everywhere, everywhere i go, sing yodel-dee-yodel-dee-oh.