31 December 2003

its new years eve. i am enjoying a rare night off; the nye show is tommy tune, broadway song and dance man, and he brought his own piano player. im gonna go to the show at ten, then after that i have to play with the big band- some hot funk, watermelon man and shake everything youve got, at the hot deck 10 party, but til then i am sitting in my room drinking irish whiskey and scotch and watching the powerpuff girls. ive never seen this show before, but theres a marathon on and im fucking love it. (right now- the villains have formed a supergroup and they call themselves the "beat alls" and pretty much every single line of dialogue is a beatles lyric. fucking great!)

anyway, watching the wild cultural collisions in this show has confirmed a recent line of reasoning out here on the high seas- one of total integration. a lot of people i know just wont settle down- they dont pick any one thing, they fly from this to that and never settle and thus never excel in the usual sense of the word. i count myself as one of these people- never really committed to anything, thus my lack of real "success" in anything- music or career or spirituality or cooking or intellect, im just too all over the place, it seems, too excited by too many things to give any one thing a serious dedication of time.

theres so much! so much!

anyway, the other night i was really wanting to fall asleep, it wasnt working, and i was thinking of how much i wanted to sleep, so i could dream, because i love a dream, for the surrealness, the unexpected juxtapositions. so i decided to try and force it- i was tired enough and my mind was astral enough that rational thought was pretty much out the window, so i was in a real fluid and accepting state. i was listening to beethoven piano sonatas, the late ones (no. 31 in Ab, op. 110, i think, a grad student at college used to play this to me in her practice room while i lay under her grand piano. she died in a car accident a few years later. oh i miss you tara!); these are pieces that really transcend any labels; classical or romantic, they are just music, a seemingly seamless integration of all musical possibilities available to human consciousness at the time. so i thought to my self, well, all i need to do to create a dream is just take all of the imaginative possibilities available to me right now, here in 2003 america, and integrate some of them in new ways. so i tried it: the first two things i though of were an orange (i had eaten one at dinner) and boxer shorts (i was wearing a pair). and thus, the image of a orange unpeeled to reveal a balled up pair of boxer shorts arose brand new in my head. i created it. i had never thought it before. maybe no one had thought it before.

the idea of something youve never thought before, something thats never been thought before, thats the essence of creation. the surprise! whoop! man i love creation! and it seems that theres a pretty fun and easy course to divining creation- this random act of integration. simple ideas, surrounding us on the field of science, culture, history, spirituality, at, etc.- from the last piece of pizza to lois lane's earthquake grave to guilt to bee dances to cubism to the word order of languages to christs turn the other cheek- these can be fused together into new ways to create imagination. you can consciously do this! its a new route to lucid dreaming for me, and i have been doing this exercise for the last week or so now, and i feel like my imaginative life has taken a real good turn.

so, for example, take pizza christ and bee dances. what can this do? imagine christ and a hive, both hungry, a single piece between them, hawaiian style. what will happen? how will they communicate? what will they communicate? christ will surely allow the bees the pizza, and will gladly accept their stings, the one cheek swollen as the other cheek is revealed- yet he is a man, and he is hungry. and the bees, will they know christ> do they think? will they take the pizza to their queen? can christ dance as a bee does? how does this scenario alter your understanding of christianity and entomology?

and then: where is this scene taking place? for me, its in the garden of the godfather pt.II, where brando dies. how would christ interact with the hollywood mafia?

this can go on and on. it is a imagination machine! so simple! i am thinking of creating a beautiful leather bound book (the leather scented with coriander) of base ideas which can then be combined through dice rolling, hot nerdy d+d dice, that is. and a velvet ribbon bookmark.

anyway, happy 2004, i hope your new combinations are revelatory.

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.

31 October 2003

in lisbon i didnt want to wait for the shuttle bus, so i walked into town, along a lonley lonley road, that i have been on before.

there was ocean, then rock beach, then train tracks, then dying grass, then four lane highway, then train tracks, then four lane highway, then sidewalk, then abandonded buildings, all stretching horizontally against each other for miles, some separated with metal fencing, some separated with a stagnant stream of litter, plastic botles and weathered cardboard. above, pedestrian bridges every mile or so, military looking. cars very fast, their doppler stereo passings coloring the air with movement, but no other sounds, no one else, no people, just me. distant billboards. the ocean an awful color. the sun unfiltered. the sky emormous. the earth enormous. everything so vast in the distance. the ground uneven, rocks from the railroad tracks hiding in the dirt. wires above. road signs. blue, grey, black, brown, white.

so alone.

yet lonliness, that empty isolated feeling, not present. lonliness rare when alone. i have never felt lonliness in nature- ancient skies and rocks and trees and wind, there i feel contemplative and connected, a part of something greater. my heart a sun. or home at night, those enchanted friday nights when no one calls and i get take out indian food and a bottle of wine and eat and drink at the table by myself with a cloth napkin and music playing and maybe a thick reference book laid out before me, the pages turning with detached intrest, me smilin and singing out loud. then i am alone, but contentedly so, happy to know that i am the kind of person that can do this, that can be okay by myslef. sjs telling me about how much she was cracking herself up while home sick, alone. thats a beautiful alone, not lonley.

this alone is diferent, but still not lonley. this alone is powerful, and puts me in touch with the world of men. i have felt it before, when driving across the country- in hotel parking lots and rest stops and gas stations where the world is enormous and unpopulated. all the signs of commerce and society surrounding, advertisements and trash reminding me that i am in the world of human beings. of living and dying and buying and selling and anger and boredom and desire and stagnation. and somehow, in spite of all of my feelings of isolation and detachment form the world, my sarcastic spearation and absurdist observing, i am a part of it, im there, and its letting me. the world is letting me pass. im doing just fine. i can stop into the gas staion and fill up the tank and pay with a card and not get arrested, not get flooded with lights and snipers, not be jumped by men of tired jokes and boring clothes and poor musical taste, throwing a sack over myhead and asking mke who i think i am. i cant talk to most people, i cant agree, but somehow ive slipped through the netting and am here, alone, unaccompianed, unstopped. how can i be in lisbon? what the fuck am i doing in lisbon? how can the world of men have let me here? im not that kind of man...i look up at planes overhead and start laughing out loud, start laughing like a maniac as loud as i can and still am left alone. there are old buildings and cars, yes, but there is still ocean and grass and sky, im still there and conneceted through those pieces of nature. and i can laugh at the things i see and wonder at the words people tell me and feel so alone, but im free to do so, i am free to act and think this way. i am getting away with it.

later, lost. scared, alone. yet excited. alone. not lonley. finally, a woman helps, points me to the sea, north is south, and i return, legs five hours sore. back on the boat, alone.

and then lonliness. only then, when the sea of acquantinces return.

at night there is a halloween party on deck one, i go in black pants and a grey shirt, there is free coors light and pizza and two dozen young white women in sexy costumes dancing and five dozen nonwhite men standing in a circle around them, arms crossed, lusting. i dont talk to anyone. i walk from room to room and dont talk to anyone. drink a beer. tap my foot and smile out loud at the people i see, but dont talk, because i know if i do ill be greeted with words i dont really understand, a script i tore up years ago, a mask i didnt bring, and ill have to laugh those plastic laughs, and ill just get sad and lonley and uncomfortable. when in throw out a curve, when i try to say something that i want to say, when my courage lets me, im greeted with looks. looks. better to just watch and be happy. better to keep my eyes open for godliness without interrupting. better to just be alone, and not have to talk to remind me that im lonley too.

later still, deck 12 black night and the ocean is furious, the wind homicidal; the atlantic crossing has begun. i fall a surprise from a gust and laugh out loud as my chest hits the wet ground laugh, laugh maniacally, as loud as i can, screaming into the sky and sea, and no one looks, because no one is there. so alone, so happy, so lonley, so sad.


29 October 2003

last night we played for a concert pianist. his name was brooks something. he was old, crazy einstein hair, wore a tux with tails, starts with a ridiculous version of "america" from west side story. lots of big fancy fast piano pyrotechnics, high fast loud notes, trills, glissandos, the whole arsenal of romantic piano embellishment. fucking terrible. yet really really good.

i cannot play piano fast. i dont have technical proficiency. i can play slow, and i can play pretty, and i can play weird and i can play creepy and noisy, but my fingers just wont do the really herculian liszty girlswooning fast stuff. there was a time, in college, when i was better at it, and could play some pretty hot runs, but they required lots of practice. i dont like practicing; i like playing. so, i eventually decided to build an aesthetic around my strengths and leave the fast stuff to others who have six hours a day to waste, and i think i do mean waste (well okay not for everyone), on piano practicing.

so perhaps there are pangs of jealousy and regret inside of me when i hear a ridiculous concert pianist; this is definitely true when i listen to some recordings of pollini (reallly fast) or argerich (sexy fast) or rubinstein (slow motion fast) or any of those other ridiculous piano playing motherfuckers. they make me feel like a imposter at the piano; like i am tricking people into thinking they are hearing good piano when in fact theyre just listening to a lot of indulgent masturbation with the pedal down. i dont really feel this way, but i realize that i could...but lets get back to this guy. there are lots of problems with this guy, this beautiful guy who has the audience melting. look at the way he raises his right hand, as if making a fine cognac toast while the left brings in the melody from chopins fantasie impromptou. look at the way he pinches his lips and rebounds a good foot above the keys while playing de fallas ritual fire dance, an old virtuoso warhorse. listen to his ridiculous english accent and the way he says the word "class-ee-cal" with a sibilant stacatto dignity and the way he flourishes his arms gracefully through the air while prancing about the stage telling tender anecdotes and the way that he calls rachmaninov's 18th paganini variation "one of the greatest melodies of teh twentieth century". this guy is a fucker, im telling you. why? why is this so wrong? why is he so right?....wait, ill get into that.

first let me tell you the rest of the show. joplins the enetertainer, done in the style of a. honkytonk piano (chain across the strings) b. old gramophone recording (the gram slows down, the music changes key, skips in the record, funny mouth scratch sound effects) c. vaudeville nonsense (slide whistles, tennis ball thrown into audience) d. rock (including me having to repeat this tendonitisific boogie woogie figure on electric keys). then, greek medley, where i completely fuck up this keyboard bouzuki (that cant be spelled right) part, really royally and loudly and for an extended period of time (you have no idea how fun it is to royally fuck up music in a professional concert and absolutely not care, to just laugh and laugh as its happeneing right under your nose), and then finally a medley of, gulp, hey jude and give peace a chance, with the audience singing the latter slowed down and unsuwng to match with the former (in the intro to this, he says that he "sincerly believes that mr. lennon (listen to that, "mister" - what a fucker!) wrote this song as words for people who might attack us." what!!! its clearly a republican crowd, but still, john fucking lennon? do a garth brooks finale if thats what you want...anyway. oh, yeah, and furthermore, for the second half of the show he changes into a funnier jacket, purple with sequins.

now in the past (ie last cruise) i have accepted performers of vegas style cheese because of the audience response they get. the audiences here love it, they eat it up, standing o's all the time. but after last night, i am not so sure- im not so forgiving. i think there is something deeply wrong with what this man is doing, and it comes down to honesty.

honesty, i think, is the thing by which music, all music can be conistenetly judged. if its honest, it is good, if not, it is not. this is great for me because skill doesnt really come ito it (ie fast playing not necessary). now i love, man just love a lot of different kinds of music, and i hate a good deal of music too. there is very little in between- usually if something is in the middle for me, i a confused and have to listen to it several times until i figure out what is going on. i have brought with me, in fact no less then four cds that have confounded me in the past and am happy to report that i have come to turns with three of them . (nick drake, finally, fucking great. so pretty. love it. radiohead, hail, finally really sunk into the track that goes ".i .dont .know .why i .feel .so .tongue . .tied" that track is fucking great, incredible, makes me smile and dance, everything about it, man! go listen to that song! i think its track 12, though i have a burned possibly out of order copy. it made the rest of the album work for me {though i still think the first track sucks}. cat power, finally, fucking great. the fourth, still bewidlering one is sea and the cake. does that music suck? or doesnt it? hard to tell).

fuck, anyway. the common thread...right:

the common thread is honesty. when musicians are playing honestly, when they are getting as close as possible to translating electric impulses in their brain into pure sound, with no steps in between, they make good music. (now, im just talking about performance and composition here, he whole inifinite power of music to explain the universe thing suggested in last post can wait for now. i dont even know if i beleive that, i just get carried away when writing about that spiritual shit. please, salt grains, everyone). children singing sound great. dying alcaholic billie holiday sounds great. bob dylan sounds great. miles davis changing a dozen times sounds great. the rolling stones young and alive sound great, but later, not so good. later, they are imitating a sound. its not them. its not honest. a lot of pop music, (using the term in the worst possible way) is dishonest, in that it is contrived to sell, and thus not a manifestation of the artists head. and there is some great song writing going on there (i still love "that way"), but it leaves me cold. and i think a lot of the most popular groups of any genre are the ones that are concsiously distilling the genre, breaking it down into its essential recognizable parts so that it may be easily packaged. this has been covered pretty thourghly elsewhere im sure, and i dont really want to get into the corporate music machine thang, that not really my style, so lets just stop and say the one common thing there is in every piece of music i personally like is honesty.

now of course this can get terribly complicated. if you honestly believe the words of an old jazz standard, will it sound good when you sing it, to your high school boyfriend, on the beach, with your uncles out of tune guitar? no. it will sound good only if you sing it honestly, if the actual physical movements of your throat are natural and not an attempt to recreate any singing you have ever heard before. which is damn near impossible, but good (fuck is it good!) when it happens. and also explains why so much good music is so unique...a quality almost, but not quite, as defining for good music for me as honesty. high school jazz band players sound awful because they are not playing honest notes- they are hitting certain notes played at least thirty years ago becaus it "sounds like jazz". music that sounds like jazz is awful. this genre titles get so damn difficult because if its really honest, its probably going to either a. fall outside of any genre or b. define the genre. so. honest. and you can still sing inside of a genre and sound fucking great, but its going to be coincidence, see? a great folk singer working in the folk tradition will sound great because her honest voice just happens to fall into the great folk tradition. but if someone just says, oh, folk music, i like that, im gonna sing it, look out. odds are their voice wont sound like that, and theyll force it into all sorts of twisted caterwalls based on the memory of an old joan baez record. thats not folk.

not to say that there isnt craft involved, and practice and understanding of music history. i think these all contribute to making great music....im making a ridiculous distinction here between good and great music. not everyone can make great music, that seems pretty clear; it requires a lot of work and dedication and passion and a certain type of mind, analytical yet emotional. and there are geniuses, oh god there are geniuses. but i think everyone can make good music, even hand clapping. or whistling. or late night bathtub singing. it can be very beatiful, yes? yes. but as soon as you start to imitate, as soon as you become concious of the making of music, you psych yourself out into playing old tired charlie parker licks. thats not jazz. thats not rock n roll- kenny g aint got no soul, john coltrane is rock n roll. yes?

now the piano player. he is being honest, and for this reason his show is good, but conditionally, and ultimately, i think, dangerously (god im so fucking melodramatic). because just what, oh what is he saying? what is his truth?

it is not "see my soul, im in pain." it is not "i feel that way too, you are not alone." it is not "i love the world". it is not "i have felt things and learned from them and i want to help you." it is not "there is a god." it is not "if you move your body for a while and stop thinking you find true joy and awakening." it is not even (though it almost is) "the human body and mind are amazing in combination with each other. you can do astonishing things. you are god too." these are the messages of good music. these are good messages.

brooks whatshisnames truth is "music is understandable and virtuosity obtainable through hard woork and dedication. it has a power to move people that can be learned and controlled. performance is an art that is powerful and can be mastered. i care for you and want to show you a good time, so i have mastered these things." which is not a terrible message...but its dangerously accepting of the audiences complacency. that is, its a presentation rather than an invitation to comtemplate. or an invitation to grow. no one in that audience worked for their smile and joy last night. no one saw god, thats for damn sure. they were shown a good time and reacted as if they had a good time, just as the retelling of saturday night live jokes will always get a laugh at the water cooler on monday. (im assuming that this still happens...maybe?). so if something sounds like good music, people react as is it were good music, but i think these people are asleep. and should be woken up. should be played some real music.

i appreciate the mans craft. i even laughed at some of his jokes. and i especially appreciate the fact that he bought each member of the band a bottle of liquor before signing off (jameson for me, hee hee!) but i do wish sometimes that people would realize that god is hiding under each of those 88 keys, each of those twelve notes, and that if you pound, if you dont approach your instrument as a priest approaches the communion table, you risk damning your soul and raping the souls of those around you.

27 October 2003

im in spain now and its raining outside and i got sick of waiting for the king and queen to walk down the road, so i have left, making my way through the crowd with entschuldigen sie bittes so as to avoid the looks of antiamerican derision, and am now in an internet cafe where the woman asked me my name and i said david and she wrote down devil. devil. i also bought a shiny black shirt.

last night i left the martini table once the talk turned to movie dialogue, i went to the mess late late and got some sandwiches and brought them up to the mooring deck, a deserted area of the ship late at night, loud and strangely lit, the bright whites and blues of the ropes causing supercontrast with the black ocean speeding past below. i threw the plastic fringe topped toothpicks into the water and then thought about jumping in. not really, please, not really suicidaly, more just marveling at the idea that the possibility existed, and a world in which that happens existed as well, because the choice existed. choice seems to be getting a lot of play in my head and the world around me lately, from matrix style pop philosophy to quantum physics, and just a lot of recent conversations have had to do with it too. ("...or i could just go fucking nuts right now, and start throwing pans and shit around!")

on the plane out i read eggers' you shall know our velocity, which i thought was very good, better then his last, and anyway he reiterates and idea i came across earlier this year, the multiverse. this theory comes from quantum physics, and basically says that the bizarre probabilistic behavior of subatomic particles can be explained by saying that the universe actually splits into parallel universes at every moment of decision in a subatomic particles life. which is ridiculous, to be sure. the bizarre behavior in question is that particles move in ways that can only be predicted as probabilities, that is, you can say that there is a 75% chance that this little photon will go over here, and indeed if you shoot a hundred photons out of one of those cool little photon guns youll get about 75 landing where you said 75% should, but on an individual level, one photon at a time, we have no way of knowing what will happen. but the fact that 75% do indeed land where you said 75% should land seems to suggest that each individual photon knows something about the other 99 and where they are going to land. they also seem to know about the conditions of the experiment; in this super bizarre double slit experiment individual photons seem to know where to go based on whether or not a slit on the other side of the room is open or not. there is all sorts of bizarre shit going on here, including experiments where scientists have set up light fast, random slit opener/closers to test whether or not the photons were actually just reading the scientists minds.

one thing that has always pissed me off about the books ive been reading this, and something which actually makes me suspect that there is something key that i dont understand, is why this phenomenon is talked about only on subatomic levels. the probability of a dice roll seems just as puzzling to me. theres a one in six chance that youll roll a four, and sure enough, if you roll the die 600 times youll get a four about 100 times. but how the fuck can the die keep track of that? i remember my father teaching me that the die has no memory, and the probability of getting a four after rolling a four is still one in six. but if the die has no memory, how does this work? how can the world be just about 50% of each sex? does each individual egg and sperm know the state of the world at the moment of conception? how can photons and dice and eggs know anything? what is the universe up to here? its a really existential problem i think, and one that seems to lead to the idea of choice and time.

the book im reading now, einsteins dreams, talks about some of these things. one dream talks about time being circular and endlessly repeated; another talks about worlds where time exists in three dimensions, a simplification of the mutliverse idea. but all of these things seem to tell me that in fact there is no such thing as choice. the die cannot choose what to land on; the universe takes over, to insure that the laws of probability are adhered to. the universe, as a whole, united entity, decides what sex this new child will be. evolutionarily, this makes a lot of sense; life cant continue unless we get this many eggs, this much sperm. yes? wait- im in spain- ¿yes?

any theory that backs evolution seems like a good one to me, cause evolution seems to me to be the be all end all theory. not all the particulars necessarily, but just the idea that the meaning of life is life, that everything in this universe works the way it does for the sole purpose of continuing life, and that life continues in new ways, a great variety of ways, each an experiment, a test to see what works, what lets life go on the most effectively. creation is a constant, and with its sister (or brother if you prefer) destruction the universe is. even splitting things in two like that seems a little dangerous to me- a good friend told me once that every attempt to explain the universe is inherently flawed, because the universe is one and all analysis is the act of breaking things down into smaller parts. yinyangs and introvert/extrovert psychology and david deida do it in two, freud and kant and hell most of western philosophy do it in three, ken wilber and physics does it in four, ennegrams in nine (nine?), the kabbalah in ten, zodiac in twelve. pianos do it in 88, you might say, but music, ah music, so fucking incredible because it gets as close as you can get to one- sound is infinite in possibility, an infinite number of permutations, greater than words, which seem infinite but are truly limited. you can only make so many three letter words, but once youve got it, you can say it, you can sound it, in an infinite number of ways- just the distance from f to f# would occupy a lifetime. but anyway. for now, right now here in spain rambling and not making much coherent sense, id rather just leave it as one: the universe is creation, with all that that entails, even the occasional entropic purging. i like this idea. it makes sense to me. it explains beauty and love to me, art and passion, because both are tools of creation.

what is my point here?

oh, right. this started because i had a neat thought about fate and free will and time earlier today. there seems to be a problem with the ordinary depiction of predetermination, and it comes with that prefix, pre. the idea seems to suggest that the course of the world has been determined at some previous point in time; at the beginning of time, the big bang began and the world was set in motion and the chain of cause and effect caused this predetermined world we have now. which i might buy, but what about time? everything in relativistic physics suggests that time is not this linear constant, but rather something far more, well, relative. the idea of the past and future are just flatland concepts we poor old one dimensional time creatures have created and held to as true, but i dont think it is the case. if time is a circle, if deja vu is real, or better yet if it is a sphere, a torus, a ten dimensional escher twist of nonsense that exists as a whole for always and always, well, well.....well doesnt that change things? and what does this have to do with choice...shit.

ive lost it. ive lost it. i just stared at a receipt on the table and tried to know whether or not i was going to crumple it up. i stared at it and tried to find out. and tried to empty my head and let the future come into me. but it didnt, and i grew frustrated, and i reached out and crumpled the paper in frustration.

eggers's complaint about the multiverse theory is that it is meaningless because he has no access to it, these other universe could not exist in the same consciousness as his. i remember reading an article about the multiverse that suggested one practical application of these infinite universes, if they could be accessed, would be storage. assholes!

so, yes, i have no access to any of this, at least not on this conscious plane, and i doubt that travelling to another plane would really affect the life here, this body and mind writing on this computer right now. and time moves ever forward, and all my understanding of it will not change that. but i know how to slow it, yes? and i know how to stop it, i think, from time to time. that is, i think i know what kissing is for.

25 October 2003

tonight we played stardust again. it was so lovely.
some of you know that this is maybe my favorite song. i made a recording of it that makes me tingle every time i listen to it (usually listening to my own music makes me swear out loud to my former self. "what the fuck...come on...stupid, imposter, stupid!"), and thessaly or parnell will tell you that i play it around the house an embarrassing amount of the time. those chords are just perfect, just perfect.

i didnt fall in love with the song until i worked on a cruise ship last time, from july-sept 2001. we played it during our big band sets from time to time, but it was still nothing special. then all hell broke loose and i found myself (i decided, i created) coming home early to a heartbreaking situation...my state of mind on the boat that last week was indescribable. never have i been more uncertain of everything, both the external world, the feelings and actions of others, and the internal, my own frenetic thoughts and feelings and pains and ideals. i walked around the ship in an emotionally sapped daze, which was fine for my coworkers because i had told the authorities that i was going home because my girlfriend had breast cancer, the incredibly poor taste and bad karma of which has been pointed out to me several times, thank you. anyway.

so one of our very last nights, were playing big band to a small crowd on the tenth deck late at night. it is the second set and i am drunk. very drunk, almost too drunk to be playing, the drink special that night beng tom collinses. who knew i had such a weakness. and im sad and crazy and really on the edge, just about to shatter into a million pieces, and the notes on the page in front of me are blinking and dancing in a liquor haze. i am swaying, but my hands are locked to the keys playing, playing, but i am not there.

and then stardust gets called. we start playing it, and im in a trance already and when the chorus hits suddenly im gone and and oh my god, the saxophones! the saxophones are playing counterpoint to the trumpets melody throughout, all voiced in velvet rich thirds. they hit these whole tone runs that ripple through my soul like electric wine, sounds like the ocean and the speed of light. the song is stardust, and i can see the stars inside of me. and every sound around me- the ride cymbal swinging in celebration, the bass landing on each note like it was a planet, the tinkling glasses in the crowd, the rocking of the boat on the blackblue sea, all this movement through time, sounds so wonderful, so holy, and i look at my hands and see them doing their familiar acrobatics and finesses, but i see them for the first time and see how amazing they are and realize that i am creating this moment, but im not thinking about it, it is just happening all around me and i seem to be everywhere at once. everything was synced. i am choosing the notes to play without being conscious of it, i am creating outside of my mind and have obtained somehow that zen moment of one taste, of nondual being, where subject and object become blurred and indistinct. this is what music is for, i remember, this is that place of emptiness and creation all at once...i am not there, only spirit is there, creation, and it is the most beautiful sound i have ever heard, because it was the world, the whole universe right there, moving through time, and i knew that everything was all right. everything was empty and full of beauty and light. everything was everything.

that was the night i understood time, tasted music as a oneness and became god, and was sure of it. its a moment i have forgotten far too many times in my life since. but tonight we played stardust again and i got to stop thinking again, and i felt love the love of the sea and sky love and creation all around me.

24 October 2003

what the fuck am i doing in monaco. what the fuck am i doing in monaco. what the fuck are these people doing with their money? im in the casino, the world famous casino where james bond plays, and there are crystal chandeliers and ceilings so far away and gold and red carpet. there is a buffet room, and i ask the man working there if i may eat.
-no, no. is invitation only
-how do i get an invitation?
-the management would ask you, if they wanted
-who do they ask...just those people that are doing really good?
i really want to eat there. it looks really good. so i decide to try and get someone rich to use me as a good luck charm. i stand on the outside of the velvet roped roulette table, and just start staring at people with a really wise, spiritual look on my face. not surprisingly, theyre not having it. this man, short and portly and immaculately dessed, a thin line of silk handkercheif just above the pocket of his black five button suit, and awful cigar stub in his mouth. or this man, young and asian and sunglassed, hopping form table to table, throwing 1000 e chips on the table at the last possible minute, then jumping to the next table to avoid seeing the outcome. all of them have pieces of paper with indecipherable scrawls of blue and black ink, tiny circles and numbers on the eback of a thick old memo pad. and im just staring at them, and i swear they cant even tell im there, theyre so rich. i feel happy that i am unimpressed by there shoes, on the whole.

i move to another table where they are playing a game i dont understand at all, and the movements are a beautiful dance of subtlety. there are four blue jacketed men running each table- south runs the chips, west the cards (or wheel), east the bank, and north watches over all in a chair thats raised four feet off the ground. north is by far my favorite. at one point he stares at me and i stare back and he keeps staring, hes staring right at me while this game is going on under his nose, and i stare back, oh im not letting go of this, so we stare. this is great. and then, and finally then he does this thing, what the fuck, where he slowly smoothes his tie...smooth, smooth, smooth, neck to groin. and when he is finished he looks back at me and raises an eyebrow.

that was enough for me.

23 October 2003

this is very very strange. strange because it is two years later and i come back, to a different part of the world, onto a different ship, and yet everything is exactly the same. the ship is different but the same, the smells are the same, the colors are the same, the dentist drill syncopations i can make with my fingernails as i walk down the vinyl walled hall are the same, the tiny sandwiches and ruthless midnight wind and beauty of count basie charts the same. the people are different, technically, but, really the same. the only thing different is me, which is wild- first off, because it has made me realize just how different i am, how much has happened in two years, and then because its like ive been given that famous second chance to do high school all over again. i can fix the past, make it more beautiful and meaningful. so im working it, really trying to savor it, my senses very alert, letting my mind be calmed and body healed.

god barcelona was beatiful. why doesnt everyone make buildings like they are from outer space?

05 October 2003

heres a mystical story for you:

on friday i went to glendalough, the ruins of an old monastic village set in a valley between two lakes, about an hour south of dublin. i went hoping to have a mystical experience; i had read eco's foucaults pendulum on the plane, which is a lot about kabbalah and masons and the occult and telluric currents, boy you should read it if you havent (though it has some pretty obnoxiously erudite sections), but anyway it got me feeling really lonley for some unknown forces. so im waiting for the bus, and then there it comes, and it goes right past. so i think maybe im just in the wrong spot (the stop is not marked), so i start walking after the bus, but it just keeps going, so now i start running, im running, yes running as i see the bus turn the corner, and i blaze into traffic which is of course not coming form the direction i expect, so horns blare and i almost get hit but i swerve like a frogger and make it to the other side, and my foot jumps onto the curb, but misses, and my balance fails, and i start flailing, flailing, my arms pinwheeling madly through the air, and now i know im going to fall, inevitable, but im just running madly forward until finally i ran directly into a large metal pole with my chest. hard. i spin around backwards and hit the ground, hard, with both arms. i collapse into a pile on the asphalt, knocked out, delirious, and i look up and see two men wlaking past me, and they just look and smile. and walk right past. i shout to them, 'im all right!' and i get up and stumble over to them and tap the one on his shoulder, 'im all right'. 'oh, oh, good' he says. then i start to faint.

anyway, the bus it turns out was just going around the block, so i get to glendalough, and the whole time my body is just aching and i can barely breathe. i hike up a hill, and just watch the trees for a while. at one point the wind blows my sweater down a hill and i have to go chase after it. later i sneak into an old church. nothing overtly mystcal, but its really beautiful, the silence, the water, the wind.

then the next day, i wake up feeling awful, aching, fevered, throat sore. it seems that slamming into the pole has given me the flu. we have an endless rehearsal, and i go home shaking with a thermometer verified 100 degree fever. i go up to sleep, keeping my sweater on.

i wake around four in the moring, in so much pain...every limb exhausted and sore, my body on fire, my throat a razor, my head concrete. i drink the last of my water, and i cant move, but i know i need more...i know i have to put something else into my body, something to purge this disease form me. i try visualizing the virus, try visualizing removing it. and then i remember that there are peaches downstairs. in a small wooden bowl. i spend twenty minutes specualting on whether or not i am going to get up (im goin got get up right now. right now. right....now!) and then i surprise myself and sit up, slowly swing my legs to the ground and stand.

we are staying at jasons aunts house, she is a 70 year old ex-nun. there are religous books and paintings everywhere. and dust. but as i walk out into the hall, i find that i am in fact in my grandmothers house, and i am ten again. i creep down the stairs, past the golden woodblocks of christ, so slowly, nearly falling, and in the dark of the living room i find the bowl of peaches with my hands. i take it into the kitchen and eat it over the sink, which is my grandmothers sink. it is so good, this peach. bright orange. juicy. i can feel it enter my blood and breath. i feel awake all through. its a really beautfiul thing. and then, as im sucking the last pieces of pulp from the pit, i start sweating, my entire face becomes a wet rag; the fever has broken.

i thank my grandmother, then i have a cracker and go back to bed.

13 August 2003


hi! hello!

magic power! magic magic magic all around us i tell you!

i was reading a friends lovely blog today, she was talking about the blackout, and how states of emergency bring you to this enviable place of primal childlike emotion. which is true, and god i was happy to be a part of something, to have that envy fulfilled. but the thing was, it wasnt emergency like at all- there was no panic, no blank stares and desperate cries- and i was in union square, a pretty crowded place. no, as the information rippled through the crowd, and the scope of the thing was slowly understand through overheard mumblings and the occasional batteried radio, the reaction was childlike, but giddy, just giddy. which was shocking to be sure, one would think that a post 911 new york city crowd would feel a little more anxious, but, really, really, everyone was just kind of silly. people just sat down and watched and marveled. and even as people talked about the idea of terrorist hackers and electromagnetic pulses, it was always with a laugh, a how ridiculous, and the real question was how am i going to get home. and as everyone slowly realized that well, they were going to have to walk, walk, to the bronx, or brooklyn, or queens, well, people just seemed to awake and a small childs grin would appear, and the adventure began. you get to have an adventure today! so we started walking towards the williamsburg bridge, and the traffic was ridiculous, and the drivers were furious but the pedestrians empowered and coyly oblivious. and there was a table of hassids passing out water, and there was ice cream for a dollar, everywhere, everyone had ice cream and huge smiles as they limped forward int their business shoes. and then, perfect, the shoe store, open and passing out sneakers to high heeled ladies.

the bridge, the bridge. the whole incoming side was just filled with walkers, sweating and smiling, and asking, how far do you have to go, where were you? ah god! the bridge took an hour of sun and water and city people sweating and stopping to rest their feet but awake and alive.

but nothing could have prepared for brooklyn when the sun went down. booze everywhere, on the stoops, and radios, and conspiracists, and then rooftops and barbecues of youve gotta cook it now meat. i finally meet up with parnell on our friend sarah's stoop, after i run to the deli to get cherry cokes to mix our bourbon with. and in the deli, they let you in two at a time, and you are given a flashlight, and you search through quiet coolers all these familiar logos and products turned magic by the darkness.

and more ice cream. here, here, have some ice cream. we walked down to the water and watched the beautiful dark city. we went to the pizza shop, their ovens still hot, and candles on the counter, and the man is sweating and counting, how many slices, cinco due, une, pointing at people. the bars are magic, everyone looks like a mystery by candlelight.

at the end, as we walked home towards our sure to be stiflingly hot apartment, we made one last stop at another ice cream store, and there behind the counter is the beautiful polish ice cream server ive fallen in love with this week, her english is halting yet coquettish, and her dresses play the violin when she walks. we tease each other for while, wordless, and then i ask her, as im ordering, "is this the best night of your life?" and she looks at me smiles, and misunderstands and answers "moosetracks", and i forget everything and feel like a child who will never understand and never, never ever, how could i ever, not be happy.

29 June 2003

maybe that's what this blog will be- a record of unreal moments. i had another brief one tonight. i had just gone to a play, "attempts on her life" at the thick house. it was very good. afterwards there was wine, cheese and bread, strawberries (old love) and cookies. i have a good friend in the cast, but i was alone in the audience, and thus found myself drinking wine outside amongst a crowd of people, talking to each other in important ways that i had little understanding of. they wore jewelery and interestingly textured shirts. so i walked to a space, outside, in the middle of this crowd of late thirtish, quasi-patrons, and i looked up. there was the sky, and a beam of orange building stretching against it. the orange beam ran into the buiding at an off angle, say 70 degrees, and then the building itself, grey and metal and glass, all perversly lit and blinding against this dark dark sky. the play itself attmepts to define this woman, anne, through her actions, which include international jetsetting, cult forming and terrorism. dark things.

there are dark things, and people decide, decide with their minds, which i also have, to do them...this has always been a topic that i have shyed away from really delving into, though i am so curious. dark arts, killing...they are not abstractions, they are decision that anyone can make. i could make this deciison, i could find out what it is like to kill someone. i really could, i could do it right now, i could walk out of my house, with a knife, or something, and find someone to kill, and kill them, and see what it is like. see if i can see god in the death. see if i actually have the power to affect the spiritual world- i mean maybe i dont? yes? maybe if i were to try, i would be unsuccessful, because it is not my place, and powers (?) above me would stop me. but maybe they wouldnt. and that question, can i actually affect the real workings of the world, can i affect life and death...that seems to me to be an important question worth wondering about. my everyday life is filled with meaningless, meaningless everything- the bus rides and burritos and biweekly laundry of urban existence which seem to have no impact on my spirutual life. if i am a creature of god, if i am a part of god, why i am not living life? why am i not ripping my food from the ground and running through rivers naked and killing wolves with my bare hands? and would killing another, would killing something prove this to me, prove that i have a station in the real, bloody real world of biological/spirtual existence? does that make a bit of sense?

it does, i know it does. im inclined to shy away from this thought now, because i dont want to seem crazy and have the fbi start a file on me and all. i dont fear that i may do these things- i know that my heart is too open to close things, and i have no desire to kill...but yet the idea of it fascinates me, it fascinates me that there is the possibility, and i can think of it, and thinking of it is so close to doing it. ah, this mind, which can think of anything and doesnt need to be ashamed.

and then, looking at this dark sky and this orange beam, i saw the dark sky and thought of these dark people that walk around us, who have killed. who have watched someone die at their hand. what does it do? do you love more deeply afterwards?

27 June 2003

new girl at preschool today. samantha. she has actually been there since monday, but today i got to know her. she was sharpening pencils in the art studio, i passed by and mentioned to another girl (surprisingly also named samantha) that i was going to the kitchen. new samantha says "kitchen? theres a kitchen david?" (its always cool when someone learns your name without you knowing it)...anyway, she came along, we rocked it in the kitchen for a while, talked about fireworks, a bond was made.

so later, out in the playground, some of the kids are hot dogging a little on the monkey bars. "watch me, david", etc. so new samantha wants to show me a move, but her hands slip, and she falls off, landing not too badly on her bottom, but then she falls back and hits the small of her back, hard, on one of the unforgiving wooden support pillars. she starts with a smile, how silly too fall, but as the realization of pain sets in, her face contorts, and she begins to cry. so i go to her, im sitting in the sand right in front of her, and she crawls towards me a little so that she can rest her head in my lap. i put my hand on her arm, ask her where it hurts, check out her back (its fine), and then just try to be really super present with her. she answers "where does it hurt" by pointing, but after that she is silent and hidden- her face buried in my lap, her one hand over her eye, the other over her ear. shut down, invisible. after a little bit of this, i start to wonder if shes actually unresponsive, like shes gotten some weird spinal damage or something, but shes moving ever now and then, just small little adjustments, so im pretty sure shes ok and shes just taking a while to process. so i shut up, and just stare at her, rest my hand on her, bring my face close to her head, and try to be still with her. this goes on for ten minutes. at least. i can hear other teachers asking what happened, they are explaining it to each other, but i am only with samantha. and i become so aware of this life in my hands. this complex system of cells and souls pulsing under me, im trying to imagine the ghost thought images that must be in her mind, and the fear and wonder of being so new to the world...i start to space out a little, the sounds of the playground are gone, and i just see her beautiful head, and i can feel her beautiful skin. i start to feel that unreal feeling again, this wonderful ecsatic terropr i get now and again when the world around me loses substance and seems to be absurd and paper thin..i have to break the spell. i start to try to get her to talk again, but its still not time...and im afraid that talking more will betray her, ruin this holy moment...so im still again.

i move my finger to the sand and draw a circle, and continue drawing circles, twirling my finger around so that the sand underneath is ever shifting, valleys and mountains in miniature being created and destroyed in seconds. slowly her hand moves and joins mine. and then we are both watching sand, watching it move, and she is pouring sand into my hand and i am letting it slip through my fingers slowly, and the sand feels wonderfully cool, and we improvise this amazing sand duet together, burying hands and arms, reemerging, slow motion sand chases, unwrapping, secrets, each finger a creature, a beautiuful silent film tinted to match the color of shaded sand. another ten minutes, easy. i am mesmerized by this sand, the complex interactions of each grain, the whole that they create, this beautifully asymmetric system...the unique imperfections of each grain and each movement. our fingers touch here and there. we are loving it, we are there together, loving it.

she looks up at last and sees a pair of shoes hanging from the monkey bars. she turns and asks me, "whose shoes are those?" i tell her, theyre koryna's. "theyre cute" she says.