05 December 2004

there a face in the woods above a fire; and hes smiling or grinning and hes older and he looks like he knows, but when i look all i see is that he looks like he knows and he must know the looks; and so hes making the look. and if hes making the look, he must not really know. sure hes confident in his drawl as he roasts rabbit on thick and thin, and he will tell you where the fire burns and how to wear the fire like a blanket and which foot to leave uncovered. and much of what he says is the truth. but why does he say it at all, why does he say it all.

in the anonymous man there is a myth of sadness that fills the chambers with rich mulberry wine. sometimes its the wood that cries out as it gets saturated with the notion of blind genius, and the creaks that fill auburn night have a glass chime within, solidifying in beams yet fragile to the touch as spun sugar.

or this man on the couch: bag filled with all the goods needed, and quiet when he should be but will fight for the cause as it emerges; and his eye shines just too metallic in his triumph. and when the sorcerer twists her ankle just off, when she missteps over the lines of dust and the quiet breeze of her error allows a fine filament to escape the sacred circle, then he catches it there too and in a voice just loud enough for the trees to hear he fixes the spell and sits down again silent yet content wiith his mastery.

should this knowledge be kept to the one, do i beleieve that the solitary soul is more than the illusion of the mind struggling against its own insignifigance, or do i see this private collection of electricity as the fundamental truth whose challenge fries doubt and unity like eggs on sidewalks, on dashboards, on marble counters near foam. these are the first questions; and yet is the second questions that plague me tonight, candle near plant leaf, ice cream over wine. the second questions, once the soul is distinguished and separated, the second quetsions of what to do now. and should she sing for herself or for the singers around her or for the sky above, or is there a difference.

and do i wear this cloth for you. and do i dare to turn my face from the mirror, and do i dare to sing alone, and do i dare to turn from the door, do i keep my recipies under my cape where only the sly dragonfly on wind may find it.

is the god in the garden built in the mind alone, or must when be the truth, this when that leaves, so one must move great stones, great heaps of dirt and grass, flowers blooming in designs to the will of the one, so that all may see. must one sing funny fork songs for the approving crowd in the kitchen, or is the beard too long.

28 October 2004

nothing is right these last few days. this is because of a low pressure system, which we have been sailing through for over a week now, almost constantly....a new bermuda to canada itenerary involves a lot more seadays than usual, and each day at sea has been worse than the last, the ship under constant attacks by 20 foot waves that spray the top decks relentlessly. sleep is impossible because the entire world is moving under you, which is not too bad, indeed has in the past been praised bei mir for its rocking lulling rockabye rock, but now in violent sporadic bursts there are bombings...a boomingcrash followed by ten seconds of back and forth aftershocking, so traumatic that the whack of wave wall sends cackling ghost images of sinking directly into my head, THWACK!! and the room itself creaking protest songs all night. drawers are left on the ground and oh my god it never stops. no one is happy, as the stumble about the mess tired and cranky and unstable, coffee spilling and christ when will it end looks of disbelief on all the young international faces. a short storm is fun...a week of this is madness inviting.

further frustrations abound in this wartorn enviornment...worst for me is sporadic computer functioning due to wild weather, and on top of this yahoo mails 48 hours+ of outtacommission...whether this is a yahoo thing or some strange low pressure bug that has infested the three working computers on the ship, i cannot say. (positively aching to send certain someones certain someloves, rest assured. also in need of timely email from me is my sister, who celebrates her birthday today, so let it be said here at least love and 35 kisses and soon to see and thank you for all.) but playing too is wildly stressful, as we are rocked nearly out of our chairs as the ship shakes and moans during a nightmare version of delilah, the stage filled with schizoid light rays and smoke machine excess as scotsman jack walker falls to the groud and i pound out fm9 triplets which the earth moving underneath conspires into gm9s against my will. i held the knife in my hand and she cried no more. last nights lunar eclipse glimpsed under black sheet of clouds, and when she did emerge the shaking boat frame caused the moon to appear to be hanging from a rubber band, bouncing playful throgh the sky. gorgeous. and shake shake whack again.

spent part of our last night in bermuda riding a shoppng cart through the abandoned streets of 5am hamilton. that was not right either, but at least that disreality had the wind in my hair in a continual flow, not these jerks and starts. how i long for a smooth ripple of time to pet my back, low to high all night long.

12 October 2004

the challenge of alec duffy

is a great one. he will force you to be yourself and to ignore the world around you. or, more accurately, to ignore your perception of how the world around you may be percieving you. you cannot count on him to behave...you may only count on him to trumpet loud loud to the genral public inside of bookstores, post offices, home depots, etc. you are to join in, and not blush, not shy away from how they make think of you.

i usually come with, so intoxicating is the feeling of the world being just for you. i draw a line when i feel he is actually infringing on the happiness of others, making them uncomfortable, etc. alec does not stop at this point, because he has learned that it is okay to be disliked. related is his flee from buddhism and embrace of anger at appropriate times. alec always tells me to do whatever i want to do.

alec recently made me stop in my tracks with one of his theories of theater.

i do not really want to post this guest article that i asked him to write.

Guest Article, by Alec Duffy

I sailed on and its purple the sea with Dave Malloy. We listened to
said Mario (or I did), because you have to on the 11th deck he's so
loud singing Simon and Garfunkel in mellifluous. Dave and I really
listened to the Philipino trio singing Elvis ballads so good in three
part harmony and soft guitar. what a soothe.

Dave took me for drinks and we met no-one. He wouldn't talk to the
other people on his ship, though they would reach out. Dave is
uncomfortable with the unweird. And so he brushes by them as they
call "Malloy!" So we had lots of room for cuddling in my stateroom
and ordering room service Black Forest Cake and coffee.

Dave revealed he was obsessive/compulsive by re-arranging and fixing
my whole Itunes library (over 17 GB of songs). Thank you, DAVE!

Dave and I drank Dark and Stormys of rum and ginger beer and then we
danced like they do in Brazil, that fighting dance. Caparinha, or
whatever it is. The others just looked on.

I sat and watched him play keyboard in the band, playing for Elliot
Finkel ("son of the small-screen legend Faivish Finkel"). They
played piano versions of Santana and Broadway songs.

We both got brazilian waxes in the salon. Dave footed the $80 bill.
Thank you, DAVE!

He showed me his hidden beach, yes he did. Not before ditching the
Danish drummer. We rolled around in the warm tide and tried to mount
a big rock.

What was my favorite part of the trip? His excitement/nervousness
about what the following week would hold. And how he talked physics.

And now I'm back on the shore. I went to Bermuda and I came back.
I'll never go again. But I sure did have a good time with Dave.
Glad we could share. We were both so longing. And it was sweet.

22 September 2004

my new roommate, mario the philipino (i asked him!) poolside sunset cocktail hour guitarist (he of lovely though oddly accented windswept versions of "across the universe" and "homeward bound"), just came home drunk, very very drunk (i am tip tip typing late night in me bunk). and he was apologizing...."sorry, david, sorry. i drunk. too much. never before this drunk (which, wow...the guys at least 40). sorry, sorry, david. oh i drunk." watching him take off his pants was just too much. but luckily for him, i had just been reading about the bacchanalian influence on plato, and i told him that drinking was divine, and that he had a right to see god. i also told him to drink some water.

last week was spent with beauticarammle. ______, which i could go on about for hours, but in the interest of decorum and masculine restraint (not to mention artistic maturity) i will not. i will say, though, that there is a girl who knows about god and alcohol. really, she was matching me drink for drink the entire cruise, and our san francisco wanderings with bottles in bags find her holding the drink more often than i (this evens things out because i consistently take bigger sips). always stretching for the stars she is....and while we were never really trashed (maybe once), there was a nice lubricated haze about the lights in the sky all week, they twinkled at us even when they werent there, and i know that this drink was a small part of that.

and i love this! i do. i love embracing it without the mock ironic shame, just drinking it. alcohol doesnt get its just holiness these days, owing to the overwhelming negations of fraternal vomit and styrofoam coffee cup meetings, bleeding steering wheels and failed marriages. but back in the day, when the magic of fermentation was discovered, it was known to be of the gods. bacchus and wild orgies of tearing flesh and divine ecstasy. and we can trace this into judeoschristianland, monks and mead, the four glasses of wine at pesach and purims edict to "drink until one cannot tell the difference between right and wrong" and of course the communion....this is holy liquid! and i feel like everyone, all these young hipsters getting trashed at night, know about this, but they dont talk about it, so knickknacky and hated is the plastic gleam of western religion. theyll go on and on about peyote and mushrooms, any drug that has some shamanic/eastern tone, but beer is of the west, of woman hating catholic church barbecues, and so the drink is not taken as seriously, at least on the surface.

but why every weekend, every magic saturday night, do these bottles of wine and gin call to our screaming souls!

i suppose a lot of this religious feeling has been overwhelmed be the far more potent and mind fucking capabilities of hallucinogenic etc., thus the religous ecstasy raves of the milennium and melting burning men in the desert. (though my mother used to proclaim that no drug gave a better high than alcohol. this may have been her own subconscious attempt to curb my drug use while maintaining her liberal credentials...other memories of her expounding on drugs contradict the previous assertion. but ill let that lie). old roommate eb once told me that she hated people who use spiritual reasons to justify drug use. "just party and say its for party and thats fine" she would say (supply your own south african accent).

im more in line with my mother than eb on these two really not at all related statements. because while lsd and ecstasy and all sure can show you a lot of weird fucking things, and encourage metaphysical wanderings of the most fruitful (and dangerous) kind, leave it to alcohol alone to get at your raw humanity, your pulsing emotion and fires raging under your skin. and its this kind of spirituality, the spirit made flesh, that seems to me ultimately most useful. one can trip for hours on the perfection of creation and the illusion of duality, but youve still got to love someone in the morning, got to talk to people, got to feel the hot sun on your forehead and decide what to do with your sweat as your lover walks beside you. ive just about had it with ascetism of any sort (and fuck spelling something im done with), so key is this body to expereince. why fight against half of your reality? why dualize mind and body at all i guess is the more edifying question. anyway, i love this body, this lust, this god of touches and tastes, and leave it to drink alone to bring the honest out, to say yes to a million specters of color and dissonance buzzing about in the sky. leave it to drink to help you find laughter in the night air...and then communicate it to your love in real ways unchecked, vulnerable, shaking and quaking. ecstasy.

now im going to relate all this to the beach boys' "pet sounds", which i just listened to seriously for the first time today. ive heard it in passing a lot, sure, but this time i snapped on the headphones and went all the way through, while riding the bus out to bermudas southern shore rocky beaches. and the music was great, wow, vocals, strings, fucking timpani!

but it was the lyrics that really took me aback. wilson is just so completely embracing all of the "worst" approaches to love...neediness, insecurity, pessimism, dependence. yet he is naked and unapologetic. he tried to change, to become selfreliant, but at the end said fuck it, "thats not me", and now he wants love, "god only knows" what hell do without it. this pervading desperation makes some of the sweeter love songs ("put your head on my shoulder", "wouldnt it be nice") almost creepy in my mind. only the beauty of the music itself makes you suspect that maybe hes right, maybe he does "have the answer" (god i love the line "what can you say that wont make them defensive". what indeed!). that maybe its okay to want love that badly.

cause hes so fucking honest and its so fucking beautiful! what a weird wonderful thing that beauty can make you reevaluate your philosophical views on things. my experiences with love a few years ago have left me very much anti-petsounds in terms of needing love (at least in theory)...and now here are these beautiful falsetto harmonies encouraging me that maybe its okay to want it so badly. and to taste again true romance...everything is up in the air again. where am i! how much may i feel! everything is true and beautiful...how to pick! oh future you tremble me!

when drunk, there is honesty flying through the air, crashing into itself with its multitude of contradiction, and beautiful love are all of its promises. drink you bring me every truth all at once, and i know it so well because i always laugh with you.

30 August 2004

yesterday we passed the absolut ice ferris at sea. have you heard of this? fucking wild. its a giant boat, with a ferris wheel in the middle of it, round and round superquickly to the tune of bizarre trombone music, fast ride cymbals, walking basslines. its basically a huge pr thing for absolut vodka, so the place is swarming with girls in bikinis and guys with sloppy haircuts, snoop dogg, martha quinn. we set up a couple of slides and walkways between our boat and theirs, and i was off for the night, so i got to see the icing itself, a completely wild suicidal rite.

the ferris wheel is powered by solar dry ice compression; the exhaust is filtered off through a, you guessed it, vodka filter, off the starboard side, into a cordoned off section of the sea, about a half mile square. the cordons are tied to giant papermache icebergs, inhabited with audioanimatronic penguins, polar bears, etc. and of course, a triangle of subspeakers half in half out of the water, creating bulging eurotrance bassline ripples that involve the hips against their will.

so anyway, after a few hours of ferrising, the sectioned off water becomes a plate of frozen vodka and saltwater, and all the girls in their bikinis go running about, slipping on their bare feet, enjoying the wild contradcition of frozen ice and blazing sun, belly sliding with their mouths open to receive the salted vodka shavings, the men doing body shots, wool hats and melon halves used for impromptu booty curling, zamboni grinding, and the daring sticking their tongues to the teasingly placed metal poles scattered throughout.

its as the sun goes down that the weridness begins. the ferris wheel is shut down, and the delta t's of the chilling night air and the frozen sea begin to interact and lead towards the inevitable and incredible cracking of the ice. on deck, men in parkas sell you buckets of loose snow to mold into snowballs. but careful, careful...if you throw too hard, the legend goes, the ice will stay intact. you must pack the snowball loosely enough that the snow is still flowing through the air like confetti, held together by the lightest of promises. you can not hurt the ice; you can only fool it into hurting itself. throw the snowball just so, and the ice will begin to itch, and the ice will endanger itself by scratching, leading to the great splashing avalanches of vodka into the sea. cold air rushing towards you from all directions, and sounds like crystal bamboo. the dance party is still raging on the unfrozen ice, and men and women dare each other to stay on as long as they can, some making love on the melting ice as the world crashes about them. until the great spectacle of the final collapses, and the reckless slide into the sea, lost, lost. there are halflit searchlights and drunken rescue attempts, but mostly the passionate deaths are celebrated, even envied.

06 August 2004

we are sailing through a hurricane.
storms on giant ships are just about the best thing this life (this cruise ship life, that is) has to offer. everything gets so fucked up. at night i went to sleep to a nice soporific rocking (ps in morning remembered six dreams), but was awakened in the night by crashes: first things in the bathroom, then a bottled water rolling off of my bed. and then, more ominous, the loud metallic far off crashes of more substantial things on the ship tilting. trash cans, chairs, guitar stands. there are so many angles at which the boat may tilt, that the crashes come throughout the night, each precarious potential waiting for its exact wave parameter to actualize its china shop disaster.

walking around is even better. relativity in action: from my inertial frame, the ship moves around me, this leg heavy, this one light. there are long hallways that run almost the entire length of the ship...the best of these on deck 2, crew cabins, tiled floor and harsh flourescent lights and water tight door lips that are drunkenly tripped over often. walking down these halls, you are treated to the oddest visual sight: people walking towards you at an angle, there feet as close to the right wall as possible, and then there bodies obscenely angled to towards the left. it looks positively supernatural. everyone laughs and smiles during storms, at their own idiot balance, and the seasick are urged to eat green apples, for the pectin.

but up top is where its going down, fucking wind spray wave sky ocean killer god power. theres a sun way off in the distance, backlighting these grey death clouds and streaks of wind, one burst of wind creating the waves, another gust ice shaving the spray off of the crest of each wave- sheeeeeeeeex//

and the officers are going nuts, theyre really tense. a group of three security officers up on top deck are wildly flinging tables and chairs into a barracade, yellow caution tape, worried looks to the sky.

theres a lot of this going on: ~~~~~~~
jan says that the other night i was screaming in my sleep. "like animal...animal. waahahah!" he falsettosaid. the dreams that i remember of the night seem fairly innocuous...a bowling match, photographs of small children playing in sinks, a jumprope-style-reversable tuxedo shirt of light blue tree bark. but i also remember a state of half sleep, in which a dream, still flowing, was being observed by my conscious eye for dream journal inclusion. and in the midst of this mental recording, i questioned myself: if i was semiconcious at the moment, did this really count as dreaming?

could this moment of blur have caused my screams? it seems doubtful, but one thing certain is that my recording of my dreams is affecting the dreaming itself. for one thing, a consistent geography is coming to light. a steep forest hill, a vortex of wind and surf, a physics laboratory on a dark cliff, a vast mall, a store for blue dresses and old record players. a labyrinthine house of strangers and drywall, a purple ballroom ship, a german train, a school with hidden closets and bizarre security designs. the characters too have a consistent personality from night to night, both the predictable cast of family, friends and lovers, and more bizarre, the phantoms that i create out of thin night with rich complexity. in the bowling dream of two nights ago, i had to ask a fair hippie sitting on the floor behind me to move over so i would not backhand him with the ball (the pins, giant red dice, were set up five across in a wicked split at the front of the lane). his blond curl shine smiled at me and revealed puzzlement at my activity and sadness at his exclusion, mystification and irritation, but then an internal shift, and finally a compassionate decision and a smile and a scoot scoot scoot so i could execute my spare. this insignificant moment detailed and full of contradiction and humanity.

the evening following the screaming, i was daydreaming on stage and missed the entrance to scotsman jack walkers blitzkreig of miss saigons "why god why". which was really a damn shame, because the beginning is just bass and piano, a really pretty and mysterious rocking Bo to Am thing over an F pedal. (i frantically sandwiched the first three notes into a sickening mockery of a triplet starting somewhere in the middle of the second beat. but by bar 2 i was on the scene). where was i? i dont really remember, because i was trying to remember more details of the previous nights dreams; but the exact nature of the reminiscive investigation was as lost to me as the elusive dream details themselves. a moment of remembering, unremembered. daydreaming of dreaming, recalling the past and forgetting the present, asleep in wakefulness. and a memory and a dream are in the end the same. why god why, he asks, why did god send me this beautiful vietnamese girl on my last night, why now this love, why?

a memory and a dream, the same. both stories in my experience, in my library of thought, that shape my present actions, reasonings and raptures. are these dreams then real? once they are etched into memory, what difference in contribution to my vastness do they have from waking experience? the cause, the intention behind the experiences themsleves is different, clearly, in that i am actually creating the dreams in a more complete way then i create my living experience. but after, when only the memory remains? and why god why am i creating these particular things? does my secret heart know what memories it hungers for, what will keep my velvet belly shining and full?

and then. the next morning, this morning, and the dreams are lost. i am robbed. i have a pretty good method for recalling dreams: since i almost always dream of people i know, i just go through a mental rolodex of everyone ive ever known, starting with the big guns, then aimlessly floating through different phases of my life, recalling faces and names and scents and songs, until a tickle of recall is awake. but this morning, nothing, nothing. my head a closet heap: i still had why god why running through my head (oh but fuck its a good song!), and i was thick with the jack daniels i had shared with the trombone player daniel the night before. (this trombone player, alcoholic, is a sad story that is slowly breaking my heart, by the way, and i dont know what to do). my head was crowded, gas station bright.

so heres what i did: i cleared my mind. ha!
i tried to do this by focusing on the breath, but im honestly just not a very good meditator, and this did not work, still mocking circles of invasive thoughts chased me. instead i focused on a single image. ah, a blackbird. i painted her loving on mind screen, facing left, still, zoomed in on her twitching head, deep eye, caressed her slightly, and then still. stopped the endless modifications that my mind insisted on for thoughts survival. still, still, breath and then spaced out.

images began to float in on the peripherals. i was hoping these images would be of my lost dreams, but they were not. they were new images, unpredictable and vibrant. a red and green tiger, an animated postal golf cart, a tall glass of passion punch. if i looked to one of these imgaes, the bird and her steel grey background would tear, vertical diagonal swatches of her realitys fabric exactosliced away by my inattention. in refocus, the new images to drift past half seen. and thus i allowed myself to only discern partial impressions of these images that were being created completely by my mind.

to only know some of what i thought.

now, was this dreaming?

and why god why, are you giving me this beautiful vietnamese girl on my last night, why this love now love? do you know what my velvet belly hungers for?


in the morning, i stopped at the mess before going to the beach (oh yes, im in bermuda). i had missed breakfast, but was hoping to find a croissant or yogurt in one of the forbidden stainless steel cupboards of the pantry.

and what do think i found? belly growling, and there, on the counter, under a silver lid, a plate of untouched, still warm, eggs benedict.

why god why?//this velvet hunger//benedictus deo//

02 August 2004

finally started that dream journal. four nights running strong. right upon waking, work it all out, get it down. the reason behind this, is, i feel like i have another life, a really rich and amazing life, that is all but lost to me in my waking state. i would like to be whole, and really know whats going on with me. how pretty can i think?

heres a good one form last week, predreamjournal era, so i can comfortably put it down here without fear of repetitous creativity:

worked out reversed time.
its always bothered me, that to make something happeneing backwards comprehensible, little parts of it have to presented forwards; that is, if you tell a story in reverse order, all the little scenes still run forward. if you write a sentence backward, all the individual words still read forward; and even if the words are spelled backwards, well still the letters are forward. and if you mirror image the letters, well then the whole thing is just incomprehensible unless you read it backwards, and thus forwards.

but ho ho, figured it out! i was in the ballroom of my dream cruise ship, which is much vaster and more purple then the real ship. i had giant geometric canvases and banners streaming about the place, almost ready for the big show, giant rectangles of orange and brown arranged in a challenge. the presidents were coming- reagen, clinton and kerry.

i had two hologram projectors on opposite sides of the room. the projection was a scene involving the three presidents, and some others in tuxedos, in rainwater trenchcoats. and streetlights, and a train. a noir chess dance. and heres the trick: the second projector was projecting a time/space mirror image of the first; so two scenes were playing out on the stage. but my moving the projectors just subtlely so, the images came closer, and when the two images were placed exactly on top of each other, the holographic bodies became these wild blurs of human essence. by overlapping the two timelines, past to future and future to past, the resonance created a timeless scene of noncausation and real truth, which we all watched over bloody marys. extra celery.


30 July 2004

a lot of delightful things happen when you do the exact same thing with the exact same poeple many many times, and all of these delightful things involve eye contact. eye contact amidst a sea of eyes that do not see your secret eyes contacting with the other, across the stage, smiling in a shiny motown dress.

26 July 2004

im almost done with philip pullman's his dark materials trilogy. i started it saturday night, and will most likely finish tonight...thats two days. {contrast this with the book i just left, james joyce's ulysses, where i spent a wolid (yes, wolid) week trudging through the first 66 pages. i got over the stream of consciousness thing, and actually started to like it a bit, (though one night i was drinking irish whiskey while reading it and just kept laughing out loud at all the nonsequiters, saying to my empty room "hes just saying whatever the fuck he wants! look, he just said THAT!")...but all those fucking irish words!! i cant deal with all those fucking irish words!!} so, yeah, i havent finished it (pullman) yet, but it is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaallly good. i cant beleive something so blatantly (BLATANTLY) anti-christian is being marketed to children.

my absolute favorite books are the great fantasy epics...narnia and the ring, of couse, plus gaiman's sandman and s king's dark tower and lil old popular harry potter. also just read white's the once and future king too, king arthur, and plenty more fun. pullman apparently felt that narnia in particular was sexist, racist, christian propoganda, and wanted to write a response. his trilogy ends up being more about fate vs choice than good vs evil, but its still set against a backdrop of dualistic christianity. the ring is clearly good vs evil, delves into the internal struggle of human nature quite a bit, has rampant christian symbolism which tolkien has denied, but still, dualistic for sure. potter: good vs evil dualism central, and even the attempt at ambiguity in snape has run pretty thin by now, i think (cant they see how good he is?). arthur seems to have a lot more to do with human nature, internal battles, the attempt to civilize society, let the god in man win over the dog. again, dualistic. king gets pretty metaphysical (though nowhere near as interestingly as pullmans take on quantum physics), but hes got his good guys and his bad guys locked firm. sandman is maybe the least dualistic of the bunch...the endless's ambiguous role as neither gods nor humans leaves them kind of free from normal moral rules, and dream is just so very interesting. but the christian and greek influence is super prominent (lucifer gives dream the keys to hell in one story), and there are always two sides in conflict.

and all of these series are strictly goal oriented. destroy the ring, defeat the bad guy, get to the tower, die, etc. maybe thats not surprising, as most narratives are goal oriented, but certainly twentieth century literature has shown us that non linear or even static narrative is possible and often really good.

in 10th grade, we read hesse's siddhartha. i remember really liking it, but i only found out years later that it had anything to do with buddhism (good fucking teacher, huh?).

so heres my thought: what would a nondualistic, nonwestern, nongoal oriented fantasy epic look like? think of all of the lessons of major eastern religions: presence, mindfulness, nonduality, acceptance, understanding, compassion. the destruction of the pairs, good and evil, light and dark, man and woman, subject and object. the though of living only for the present moment, the fool card, the future nonexistent. what about a story like that, but with lots of cool witches and shit?

what if you went on a quest to find out what your goal was, and atop a lonely mountain at the edge of the world you cleared you mind and dropped your sword and your whitehaired master emerged from a slowly flying dandelion cloud and cut your arm off, and you realized that your goal was to find out what your goal was, and with that realization you had gotten it, and your mind collapsed upon itself?

maybe im looking for a seven volume zen koan,
with lots of cool witches and shit.

25 July 2004

such a simple thing.

the mess is a series of square tables, all diagonal to the walls, all coated in white linen with folded napkins and glass water goblets. usually when i go to the mess, the band is there too, so i have an automatic place to sit. it is expected that i will sit with them (except for the dangerously alcoholic trombone player), and they are welcoming, and there are odd bursts of converstaion that i am not compelled to either contribute to or resist.

but if the band is not there, i am faced with a weight and a weariness, for usually before me are two or three tables half full with acquantinces; mostly dazzlingly european women, members of the cast or youth staff. and too sad to face the silent sadness of halting conversation, i usually slink by and sit alone.

yesterday, though, the best dancer asked, in her melancholy english accent, "may i join you?". her dancing is amazing...while the others seem to be going through the motions in a plastic smile hangover thickness, she cuts through the air like fine russian scissors. her seven styles of red hair, her eyes done up for the show in a cats mask of silver and white. she sat next to me, not across, and ate her pineapple, melon and coffee, and we didnt say much, but just her nearness made me feel wonderfully present.

too often i find out that the people im most intimidated by are also intimidated by me. i must stop assuming that the rest of the world is stronger than me. i must remember that my ability to give love is miracle.

13 July 2004

saw something that i have never ever seen before, never ever, ever ever, my entire vision filled, with this thing that i had never ever before seen ever. it was not a new seen thing framed by the typical background static of often seen things; this thing was my entire field of vision, that is, all i was seeing were these exactly two things, which thanks to a miraculous perfect synchornicity of color and shape had the appearance of being exactly one giant all thing, that i had never seen before, ever ever, and that i was immersed in.

this all happened on a perfect beach, secluded beach, half a mile long, with no one else on it, no one at all, a beach that i had to climb down treacheous rocks to get to, slowly, carefully, bravely, thinking to my foot, my white barefoot, all right, now, foot, im just going to have to trust you here, im about to put my whole weight on you and i am going to trust you that you wont slip and break me. all right foot all right foot are you ready foot. all right. here we go.

and then down and jump onto soft sad sand and theres the perfect beach with no one on it just white white sand, said soft sad sand and cliffs and caves and crannies rocks out my shoes and glasses and tshirt on a rock so i could go into>>>>> the water which was raging with the wind and giant perfect waves were smacking me just me
Iall aloneI

and then the suction>>>> into the sea knocked me down and before i even ever never seen knew it was way way way way out in the middle of the sea and the sun i looked up to or tried to but the water came laughing onto my head and salt was in mouth aw come on sand was in my thick rich hair really rocking me now you water you, growl and come on!! and when i looked up, over the water slaps looked up again to see , through my color senstive nearsighted human eyes when i looked up to the sky all i saw was the sea; and when i looked up to saw the sea all i saw was the sky. sea sky: see sky see sea, see sea see sky, because the water was so clear perfect and the sand so white perfect on this perfect secluded beach ever on this perfect day so clear and so white that together ever never `the light` and `the reflection` the water and the sky were, sigh, aw, come on, aw,

*the same color*

yup, yup, the same color, the exact same color, sigh again, *, foot cant believe it, with a wave over water underwater hardly breathe and salt taste tread to stay a float sigh my god perfect a ~baby~light~blue~ that rippled and heaved over me my blurry vision bluring the horizon line away and there the sea the sky both the same color the same color! the exact same color! never ever! so all i could see was rippling breathing ~baby~light~blue~, and i was /immersed/ in it and it was the only thing i could see, inhaling frantic salt water, up and down panic color never ever alive everything just this one color blue blue blue bluebluebluebluelueblueblueblueblueblue rrraaaaaaaaaaaahh on this perfectly cloudless day perfectly clearless water perfectly emptyless beachess.

later i lalala lay in the sad and alalalaughed uncontrollableable as the waves knocked me wash over and then swoosh slurped me back in ever ever ha ha ha!

09 July 2004

i found some unexpected eggs today.

(its a classic paradox. a man presents you with 10 numbered boxes, and tells you that in one you will find an *unexpected* egg. you are to open them in order. the egg must be *unexpected*; thus, you reason, it cant be in the last box, for if you were to open the first nine and find no egg, you would know that it had to be in box 10 and it would thus be *expected*. so box 10 is out. by similar reasoning, box 9 is out too- since it cant be in box 10, when you get down to 9 and 10 it would have to be in 9- but that would then be *expected*. and it cant be in 8 if its not in 9 or 10, again, youd *expect* it. you can apply this to all the boxes, and safely say that it cant be in any of them. until you open box 5 and find a completely *unexpected* egg.)

friday nights the main crew deck, deck 3, becomes a maze of luggage, color tagged and carted into giant metal shark cages in preparation for tomorrows debarkation. everyone knows that luggage is the shittiest job. the housecleaners all wear back braces and sneak bites of cold pizza brought to them on white plates. old wooden ramps are placed over the stairs and the luggage slides down, helped along at each landing by one of these wearyeyeds, mostly philipinos. im pretty sure there should be a doubled letter in that word.

but there the occasional odd and lovely eastern european too...i was walking up the steps opposite a ramp tonight, and saw my beloved estonian, she of blond curls and small small voice and narcoleptic saunter. she gave me a pouty tired look and told me, in a >zabul dabo< voice like velvet taffy, "we push, we pull, mmmmmmm". i asked her if she ever slides down the slides herself. she said, yes, try it, and i did, but my shoes were too sticky and then an officer gave me a look. i had to leave, and wanted to leave with a graceful wit (this was only the second time ive talked to her), but could only manage: "you could sell tickets". which she responded with only a puzzled look. ugh.

i walked away feeling much like one of the rejected awkward teens wearing a signed white celebrity tshirt (signed by all his 'new teen friends') i had seen earlier that night up at the teen disco. (the cool teens were in the back hooking up). i feel the same about love as i always have- desperate, wildeyed, a fool. city streets in the rain, solo trumpet, hard eyes against the tears.

even earlier this night i had watched a bit of edward scissorhands. that is the kind of love i have always wanted, in a fairytale, a one who understands, an embrace of the pained abnormalities. at the end of the movie, winona is old and talking to her granddaugther...so she has clearly moved on. but she still loves him, she will always still love him.

and even earlier then that, lying in my bed thinking about an old old old love...an unrequited one that consumed me for years. one im at peace with; i love her friendship and have put all of my exaggerations about her and of all of the practical complications our history afforded us into their appropriately numbered boxes. we still see each other every rarely, and its wonderful and magic. but yet, but yet, today in my astral nap bunkbed world (specific song that did it was "wigwam", bob dylan, though i do not consciously associate that song with this woman at all), she stepped on my feet under a lowlit diner table again, and i was holding her hand and kissing her at last.

still earlier, at rehearsal, the husband and wife duo sing "to all the girls ive loved" (the willie nelson/julio iglesias(?) classic). just terrible, terrible fucking song. but still...

never fall out of love with someone. never not fall in love with someone else. that seems essential to me. i fall for the estonian as rapidly as i fall away from another on the ship (lazyeyed welder), but i still can taste her odd garlic (for health) kisses. then night i hear another song and remember someone else. theres such beautiful light in their eyes. everyone a different color, a delicate coral, an unsung evergreen.

now ive got my dreams of my one love that sings to me in a secret language and bites my finger and laughs me to the moon. i love her and want to take our grandchildren apple picking.

but still i love them all, all the rest too.
ive put them each in a soft box in my memory, with all of their letters and laughs and lipnesses, and ive closed the boxes, and i dont *expect* to feel that way again. oh but then, but then an oh.

i can reason through everything, i can control what i obsess over and what fills my head. i can let go.

but when i feel snow on my wrist, i shiver.

someones getting married tomorrow. and heres an unexpected egg--- i am so very happy for her. i love her and wish her the world, the stillness grandness of empty space, and all the blazing suns in between.

27 June 2004

nothing really beautiful or amazing happened today. it was the first of our two formal nights. we do the captains toast (jazz standards) and the 60's show. we played stevie's "you are the sunshine of my life" first, and then i kind of went off on whole tone scales (the second chord of the intro is all whole tone). too symmetrical, i said, and wheres that halfstep edge, that sexy dissonant bite, that s-s-s-truggle, di-di-di-difficulty, zazazaconflict that makes life so -*yow*-. for the rest of the set the sax player and i played whole tone scales at every opportunity (ie every dominant seventh chord). skating up and down their space age slides!

we are up in a box stage left, looking down on the audience so we can see their gaping faces. they really love the shows, they get so happy. there were some nice moments out there tonight: a group of teenagers singing along to "help!", and a beautiful family in the front row, mother, young girl, father, the girl was maybe 8. she kept putting her hands up to her new hair berette (sp?) to make sure it was in place. formal nights are great for seeing young children in dressy clothes for the first time. so careful and gentle with their new precious things! she had really cute round glasses too, and she smiled and tucked her head into her fathers arm after the lead singer gave her a high five during "surfin usa".

but overall, nothing really, and i dont feel particularily happy or sad.

i had a child in a dream last night, the size of a pistachio. he was doing wild, digital fast breakdancing on the carpet. then another child, equally small, joined in, and they played pinballed across the carpet, bumper car twirling, and then swoosh! under the couch...we lifted the couch to find them, and they were not there. and then, there they are in the pocket of my cardigan sweater. we left to go enroll in college, enroll in geometry, and i took the long way down, a huge sandy path in the rain, the sand filling my sandals and the wind and lightning purple deep purple. later, my bicycle skidding on shiny asphalt.

i wonder how my child will be. will i indulge her in the materialist ecsatsy of fancy new things? let her grow out of it later? let her pretend to grow out of it...hm. i cant wait until i buy my new powerbook. though, i spent much of today making a gift, making, with pens and glue and the torn off covers of old hardcover books from the crew library. i noticed that i like using mistakes to my advantage-- this slip of the pen makes a really neat design, etc. it felt good. good for me. but will they like it? really? always selfish acts of love. sigh.

still, i guess that was beautiful, hanging out in the crew mess with a coffee and european cookies on a linen napkin, brushing glue on to avoid lumps, whistling "itsy witsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini" over and over again, fixing little mistakes by creating large abstarct blocks with black and silver permanent markers.

if you make a mistake in bingo, and call bingo, and then when the bingo commisioner comes over to check your card he finds that youve punched a number that wasnt called, you know what thats called? its called a bongo.

another thing my polish roomate does is comment on my comings and goings.
"you going?"
"aha! you come back!"
or, more perplexing: "aha! you come back?"

kenny, the conspiracy theorist trumpet player, asked me today if i beleived in reincarnation. i told him i didnt beleive in anything, but i thought there were prettier ideas than reincarnation out there. the book im reading now, "the third policeman" by some irish guy whose name...flann o'brien? i dont think so. one thing thats happens in this delightfully odd book is that in a bicycle obsessed town people become more and more bicycle like as their riding over the bumpy rocky roads causes their atoms and the bicycles atoms to mix. they dont actually turn into bicycles, they just can be seen leaning against walls and posts.

how many atoms would i have to lose before im not me anymore? ha.
is that my skindust behind the desk? ha.
when will i have a child? ha.

one of the crew channels plays a constant loop of csi, las vegas and miami. id never seen it before. i love the main guy in miami. he is so cool. he knows how to use language. "no. heres what youre going to do." i also saw the film "chicago" for the first time today, and i liked it too. really good braiding of the musical numbers with the real world. he had it coming! he had it coming! oh and that tap dancing lawyer at the end! man!

these are small pleasures that ease me and cool me and cease the pain of my useless and pointless knowledge.

the night before, after the drummer and i finished a really excitng, tight game of chess (the d column was a real traffic jam: black king d8, just a step shy of promotion white pawn d7, white rooks d 1 and 3. and a black rook stalking outside on f7, threatening [and eventually enacting] a dubious rook trade), we poured the pieces into the torn flat box and stared at each other for a moment.

earlier that night, we were watching pool in the crew bar, and this big guy from trinidad who can make the ball jump (and thus make me girlishly yelp) said "bloodclot!" as a curse upon missing a shot.

so now were staring at each other. and then i said, well good, im going to go to bed..and then tomorrow well just do this all again. and he said, yup, good luck with that.

then we ran up the steps, my sandalflops echoing all through the ship.

20 June 2004

assignment 1.1
se/breakfast empathy

i sat outside her room at 5am and waited. the floor tiles were dirty- the corners were chipped and there was bus station era streaking. the corners of my eyes were thick with glass. i kept a wool blanket about my shoulders to protect me from the madness air conditioning and her eventual postdooropening survey. i had an itch all down my back, the side of my neck, the pillow.

there was a cardboard box at the end of the hall that contained christmas tree parts, garlands, the empty packaging of hoisery, a small piece of wire bent into a man with doubled arms but singled legs. the garland seemed to be breathing a little, but i kept still.

her door opened at 8:30am. she was dressed in gingham and she walked to the mess. i followed close behind. she left a tiny trail of small flying primary colors behind her. i could follow her movements exactly. as her left leg would raise, mine would then towards me and tandem her. i felt physically focused and mentally vacant.

she had not noticed me. she pushed the heavy metallic door open and i glided in behind her soft. there was a stack of individual milk cartons on the counter. the sugar in baskets. she chose a white round moonplate, and i did, and i traced her meal onto mine. three pieces of pineapple, one strawberry yogurt, one spoonful of scrambled egg, one thick half slice of french toast, two links of sausage. there were flowers on many of the tables, white linen on all. she held the yogurt in her hand, away from her chest, and the rest on her plate clockwise from the start.

we sat, i just a left behind her. my shoulders shy. i heard her shadow twitch to my presence, but still. the lighting gave our skin surprise gifts. she began eating. i followed her exactly. left fork, right knife, to the sausage, the cut, roughly one-fifth of the sausage, through the air, to the mouth, 5 major chews, 16 minor. a two second swallow. a three scene smile: a testraise, then back down, then full arise. arise then for the forgotten juice-- we get it together. the machine hums as we press our glass. she drinks the first sip while walking back, so beautiful is the orange; and she lets her juice enter her mouth just to the right, the right front incisor receiving the first splash. i do the same. i had never done it before. we peel our yogurt back together and pour our syrup from a height of seven inches and we eat our meals exactly the same. there are posters on the walls, but i cannot read them because she will not look at them.

after a while, i begin to notice that my eyes are watering. her eyes are watering also. there is a vague mint. she raises her hand to her face and touches it once, just under her eye, the sensitive upper cheek with bone just beneath, and i copy her and feel two hands upon this one spot on my face. our eyes close and we see the blackness. our sounds are the same, the ocean waves to the left and behind. there is mint.

inside this mint blackness we see an older woman sad, lying under a shawl, and a mahogany clock ringing a dullsonorous Db. we see the soft down of dirt under a lakeside tree, and there a wasp cradles our fingers and gives us her own smile. the mother is unrecognizable, but her face is like mine, and like the woman, and like the pieces of french toast...the the piece piece ofof frefrench ttoast...

that is finally finding its way onto our mutual tongue and the sweet sweet firework joy of that first swallow shimmers up both of our memories of swing metal cold and pleasently painful in our thin hands.

and i open my eyes and see that my skin is soft, my breasts full, my belly doubled with sustanence. a three, no six, second smile. two threes overlapping. the day can begin.

19 June 2004

my roommate is polish, late fifties. every day he asks me my schedule.
"you have play?
what time?


what time?
nine...nine thirty?


how long? one hour?


he is obsessed with time, and the news, iraq, beheadings, etc.:

"the news, i see, if is good news. maybe. maybe. every day is bad. so maybe today good....ah.


the shit, is pronounced as if through a screen door.

i notice in my responses to him a desire to flaunt my lack of judgement on things. i want him to know that i do not find the schedule or the news bad, but just the world as it is. i want to show people that i do not complain, and that i do not beleive in good and bad, that i can see both sides of all things. and in this flaunting, this righteous posturing, i recognize pride and ego, and i am shamed, for i recognize these as, hm, bad.

my secret heart (this is a phrase i like now) is a mystery; i do not know what i think of good and bad. such a confusion: this bird sees the sun and knows it is the light and this bird sees the moon and knows it is the light too and in the eclipses of living i bird i find myself confused and trembling by the pale shallow pools of morality and quality.

what kind of asshole would write a sentence like that? a bad one? a good one?

i finished east of eden today. steinbeck seems pretty sure that good and evil exist. and we great creatures have them both within us, we are filled to the brim with them, and we may choose, thou mayest, we are lovely. i love his writing and his acceptance of the bad, his painful embrace of it. i love lee!! and cal and abra love each other in the end for their imperfections, their bad thoughts.

but its not so clear out here. tonight on deck 12 after working out, i let the cold wind freeze my sweat as i was listening to a hiphop mix se gave me (sle? sae?...i cannot remember, bad)...i think it may have been eminem singing, "you better lose youself in the music, this opportunity comes but once in a lifetime, grab it," etc, that optimistic hiphop about seizing life and tearing down the drapes and dancing through the street. you know. and i found myself imagining a room, a pre boxing room, concrete, bare bulb, tattered whitewash posters, and here i am receiving this encouragement, my woodstain trainer massaging my blazing shoulders with his anisette breath, and i am about to enter a ring, and he tells me, seize it, lose yourself to it, be it, and i am so scared because it is not boxing ring i am entering, and it is not my fists, nor is it my mind that will save me...rather this game is played with my elusive hidden soul.

the odd contest is in a circular, eggshell white room, high ceilings, perhaps two doors, lady, tiger...i will be thrown in and will have to play, but the rules do not exist. and i have played before, by leaping and shouting, by hurling myself at a door and banging it with my radiant song...or by walking slowly through and examining the woodwork for holes that may house hints. once i sniffed the air for an hour before the walls collapsed on me and i again wet my pillow with lost sobs. once i tried to hide in the corner but could not find it. once i danced calypso shadow puppets on the wall with a coquettish smile.

but i have always lost, in the end, lost, always. i must have, for this uncertainty inside of me persists.

i sometimes just dont know what is good or bad. i dont know how to act. i dont know what to say to this stranger to let her know that i am interested in loving her, without frightening her. i dont know how to tell this man that i love him in spite of what i have done to him, in spite of my lies and betrayl. and maybe there is no good or bad...but the agony is that sometimes i know its good, because the things i do and say make the whole world smile and magic. so there are right ways to do it...ive been there and felt it. but when i try to figure it out, oh, oh oh. my teachers (many of you!) tell me that this is the problem...the thinking, the thinking, the math problem approach. i should "be myself", do thy will, and the chorus will emerge from the circular lip of the ring and shower me with the rose petals of a well lived life.

and i think that in real time i can do this...i think that in the continuum flow of moment silk moment improvisation, in conversation, music or love (occasionally in cooking and video game playing too), i find this loss of self and judgement does not come into play and i am blessed with the overwhelming happiness, the greatest laughter, and the world becomes a garden of light, water and sound, with giant green leaves to blanket and bed me.

but then time sneaks in...and i find myself alone with this head in the moments in between and the analysis begins and all comes scrumbling (LIKE THAT WORD!) apart and i cannot begin again because i cant be myself because myself is thinking of too many different options and has no rules by which to judge them. ugh! but the thinking is me! still, still. and i think of this act, an action of pure being, so right and true, that has ended up hurting another. good and bad...and there is time to think about that, and i am lost in eclipse season again. this man traveling at the speed of light seems to be still and sickly to this man on the ground who loves as well. right?

it is true if someone thinks it...if an action is thought to be bad by one, then he is right, it is bad. truth is only subjective...and all subjective thought is thus true. theyre both right, always. its all true, i remember.

so how to proceed? i want to live, but my living is thinking. this writing soothes me, but it is a dangerous attempt to find a side. i know this hypocrisy as i write it. or does it just occupy me...am i still so afraid of being alone.

not ready, still, old song. i must be not ready to accept the vows and live in peaceful stillness. i still dont beleive that the singing will be as sweet on the other side of nirvana. i still dont beleive that through stillness i can enter the ring without thinking, with my true self who can dance every dance. that my being can flow so effortlessly from me and the world will be all right if i dont worry about it. do i not trust...do i still not beleive that the world is good? that evolution triumphes over entropy. at the core of my un-understanding of good and evil is a presuppositon that good is good, and my distrust that the world is good, that death will not hurt, that they are not laughing at me, leaves me vacant.

its so hard, and so lovely, this not knowing how to live.

but i must be learning...for my impulse now, sometimes, is to stop the mad runnings into the sun, to stop the wild serenades and outpourings of words (clearly! ha!) and just lie in the center of the room, on my back, with arms folded sweetly on my chest, and wait. stare at the ceiling and feel the eggshells bubble my back. wait until the moment arises again where i may be distracted by a creation, a simple turn of phrase or hip, into not thinking. a fierce love that hurls me into the moment and lets me do no wrong.

and only if the love is true, right, only if the love is true will this work. only if i truly love all the glowing angels that surround me. and if it is true, it will outlast time, and will remain.

i am sorry for all i say sometimes. i try so hard to stay in the present but i fail all the time. and when i fail, when i drift away, is when it becomes bad and sadness creeps in with her old cellophone refrain. sometimes i wish i could erase the boards and enter the ring with nothing but a blanket, a guitar, and a plate of warm peach turnovers.

15 June 2004

so here i am, and there i am, in the pit, pounding through the zenith's first big production show, "that 60's show", beatles to motown to hair, enjoying the intellectual zing of sight reading music but still reeling emotionally from the wild shifts of the last few days, weeks, months. i have run away again, again, and hopefully for some good, some real financial problem solving this time, but i always manage to leave at a time of hallucinatory bliss...as if only the leaving, the sudden short time allowed, the instability, can produce those resonances in the world and those feelings in me. and so i am there with my fingers doing what they do best unknown to me as my mind is busy in the syrup of ago dreaming back and forth between the present and the longed for future, magnolia wind through my shivering skin, i am a drunken active coma of thought, and then the flower power sections begins-- and i am shocked into heart lump clutch because im suddenly not only listening to, hearing, but also helping create, with shining root position chords, a gel-lit morsel of the song "if you go to san francisco".
...youre gonna meet some gentle people there...
oh joy and sorrow! synchronicitous silken trickster universe conspires against my heart strings and rings them wet through her ivory hands. it medleys into california dreamin...

furthermore, im reading "east of eden" by steinbeck (thank you cgk!), and it is sooooooooo beautiful...the descriptions of california, the salinas valley, the rivers and winds and sagebrush. hes really brilliant. and more: joni mitchells blue, just really discovered on a drive up highway 1 after a magic magi weekend epitomizing the california vibe joni is talking about...yes the people i dig, and right, yes, sunset pig (which to me actually suggests that joni is a vegetarian but that the cookout on the beach will be so beautiful and so flowingly lovely that she will even kiss meat, perhaps have a taste, special occasion. hee!) and the next night, the guest performer (sax player from the benny hill show) does a really really fun to play version of "my life" (i pound the jangly high notes! du-du, dun, du-du, duh!)...and its lines about "...sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast..." all of this leaving me pining for a place! my home!

when i first drove into san francisco, following dps's thorough email directions in a metal uhaul truck (i like that unnecessary adjective there), my fantasy was incense and wine, a porch by the beach with friendly faces who would call me up from the street, seeing my fresh wide eyes, and would welcome my fat belly and wild hair with their bottles and beads and bare open arms. the fantasy was only half ironic...it seemed possible to me. so ingrained in my midwestern consciousness was this image of california, from a hundred songs of the sixties and seventies sucked down thirstily in my adolesence. here was music originally for a generation that didnt fit, that was creating their own "new explanation"...and in my childhood, i found myself not fitting either, not only with the establishment but with anyone of my own generation, pounding their way through beer cans of guns n roses. lost, alone, fucked. so the sixties music became mine, and maybe my parents listend to it, but it was really mine. to escape into. and it all seemed to come from california; even the british stuff. sgt pepper was, in my secret heart, recorded in san francisco. whatever. thats not true. but janis and jimi! i knew that somthing magic and decidely unmidwestern was going on over there, something filled with altered reality and possibility.

oh cwg, mcw, nda, how is it to have grown up there? grown up and always had honey dripping from branches to suckle?

now every time i leave or return, brisk san francisco air, that old feeling hits me again, of this actually being that cliched place, where the people are kind and open, where the oranges spill over the sides. and now the music! there is music that does this for me now, my music that brings me home and makes me feel so sweet all over. mine! my music! my most precious belonging, an audible photo album that exists everywhere, anywhere i go the songs are in the air. and it fills me, chills me, thrills me.

how does that happen? listen to another one, even weirder: the other guest entertainer does "tiny dancer", a hot fast version. ive never heard this song...never, except for the scene in almost famous where they sing it on the bus, and that just once, barely remember. anyway, so we play this song, again, sightreading, and fuck! the first minute is really fast rock solo piano! fucking great! the piano is miked and loud and still jingle jangle, like theres a chain over the strings. and by the end of the song, oh magic love i own it! by the end of the song, it is a whole world of nostalgia for me, instantly created and completely nebulous in content. it doesnt remind me of a person, or a place, but theres a feeling, a fuzziness now, like drinking from my grandmothers juice glasses. i love the tiny dancer, i can see her dressed in yellow, and i want her to win!

other songs are more concrete. my first lsd experience was in san francisco, in a flat high above haight ashbury, and i put on jefferson airplanes surrealistic pillow at a pivotal moment (said pivot being that a house across the way had turned into a gigantic robot), and it was mine. strangely billie holiday singing "nice work if you can get it" also figured prominently into that experience- the adorable horn line intro seemed like the only beautiful thing in the world for a scary half hour or so.

so music is a healer, and an inflicter, salvation and sadness, a memory puller and sentiment moonshiner stronger then scent for me. if i want to smell jason rigby again, i put on coltranes ballads and his laugh is bear shaking me awake again from my intoxicated highschool couch slumber. my mothers irish records played at full volume, my fathers ry cooder tapes, my sister doing hand motions to "help!" on the living room coffee table, and my family is not so far away. every caress of an exlover remembered through the ink spots, solomon burke, elliott smith.

i know this is nothing new, but its fun to talk about.

but new for me: now its a place too! not just a person or a time, or a weird drippily shivery feeling, but a whole honest to god place, all of the vastness. all of the times, each moment of four five years, every exoticly fragrant richmond corner and market street bicycle death trap and night sky bundled into a three minute song. california. my home, my wet winded lilypad!

i revel in the sadness and longing this music gives me. the wind is in from africa, there are flowers in my hair, im all alone and so lonely and lost again and i love music, 'my prom date for life'. i can ring tears out of this sad old heart be they joy or moan, with a whole ringing singing silver gilded catalogue of san francisco song now.

and oh i like that, i really do.

14 June 2004

we are docked in bermuda for four nights. so we can leave the boat at three in the morning if we want to...and so last night i did. walked and walked through the perfect air until the jewelery shops and expensive cafes were far behind me and i was on a winding dark road of millionaire homes and uncontrolled foilage. and the insects! a thousand electronic blips and bloops, every note of a minor sixth covered, spaced out in super thx stereo, this one close, this one a half step away and a half mile away reverbed out, a dangling forest of sound! this music is perfect in its naivete, its rhythmic coincidences...stars above and eerie streetlights cast upon the sides of a shattered mountain, a dynamited road with walls fifty tall, a tunnel, a cool night wind. deserted, this island is, i am a ghost at last, me alone, though still in the world, somewhere, somehow, may it do ya kind.

25 January 2004

when i was sailing along the alaskan coast on a cruise ship for a few months, probably the most fun thing i got to do was play for the weekly talent show. these fuckers thatd come in, you have no idea. it would have been easy to just make fun of them all, but there was something so amazing about the confidence they all seemed to have in their work- were talking about people in their fifties to seventies singing mostly show tunes and sinatra, and just terribly- the tonal and rhythmic acrobatics i had to perform to accompany these guys were...that girl in the olympics who won the gold with a broken ankle or something? and that coach with the moustache? it was like that. anyway, musicality was truly secondary; their stage presence was awesome, this utter surety that they were offering something to the world that was singular and important and moving...and really it was, mostly just because of that attitude. i would leave these shows smiling, mystified by the social distortions that age seems to place on people, thrilled at the idea that soon (well, 30 or so years from now) i would understand that total disregard to social/aesthetic conventions that a life time of life would require of me.

anyway, so now, a harmonica story: there was this guy, and well, this was an ugly guy. midfifties, head coated with a thick mane of perspiration, gigantic gut, tightly sealed in a thin white shortsleeved shirt, shorts and high socks, glasses case nestled in pocket, you know. there at rehearsal with his wife.

so we say, what do you wanna do?
and hes all, do you know moon river?
and im all yeah, i know moon river,
and then hes all, well what key do you know it in,
and im all, well what key would you like?

and then, man, he smiles at me...and he pulls out this case, this beautiful, black leather miniature briefcase, and he opens it up, and there inside are twelve beautiful, shiny, fragrantly glowing harmonicas. each one held in a by a little leather clasp. one for each key, he says, one for each key.

and he pulls one out, and he starts playing, he starts playing moon river in this deserted cruise ship theater. the floor is rocking beneath our feet. and when the first high note, "...ri-ver" comes dancing out it is shiny and alive and oh! it is beautiful beautiful, somehow this man this most unlikely man is making each note of moon river connect into something inside of me, and i feel pain and sadness and joy and some primitive state of just feeling, all that stuff that music is supposed to do to you. but the killer, is, that then he stops, and he says, or what about this? and he pulls out a different harmonica and starts playing again, the same freaking mancini sugardrop that usually makes me numb out, and its even prettier, richer and lower now. and then he does it again. what about this key. oh, eflat, thats a nice one. again and again. he goes through maybe five different keys in all, and i look over at his wife, i look over at his wife, and her eyes are glistening.

in the end we had him play a capella. the crowd was pretty unimpressed.
but for me and his wife, it was divine, seeing that holy music coming out of this poor guy.
this poor ugly guy.