Monday, July 26, 2010
(photo by Lisa Schaffer of an installation done my Angela Miles)
The temperature last night dropped 25 degrees since the afternoon. The whir of multiple window fans shifted as I turned them off into a muted hissing of locusts. Bob Dylan has a great song about locusts in which he’s talking about escaping some stifling scene to head out into the Dakota hills with a lover and the chorus reaches an exalted crescendo and he wails, in a rich nasally voice, “And the loooooooocusts saaaaaang, and they were siiiiiiingin’ for meeeeeee!”
It really feels lately like the locusts are singing for me. Maybe I’m just regaining energy that’s been zapped for quite awhile, but the blurry almost full moon and me tonight, well, we’re rendezvousing in high-style.
Yesterday I sold sundries and sundresses at a “Punk Rock Flea Market” at a table with a friend. We were charging way on the cheap so we could just get rid of it all; we were delighting in the idea of it leaving us. The beauty of this is that there were plenty of takers. Just as I am moving into a different time others are hitting their prime in the era of flea market gluttony. Young girls in their teens and twenties held small bills in their sweaty palms looking for flashy feathers to strut their stuff. I too was once this way. Decorum is truly part of being young. Not that decorum disappears as you get older but it’s less pinned on your lapel and more running in your blood and your blood usually knows what works by a certain point and rejects things that don’t fit as it does with the wrong blood type. We no longer are looking for a purse in the shape of a goldfish to wear to a party so we can talk about the goldfish purse.
I think this process is all natural though, the goldfish and the lack of goldfish. And I know that after this flea market today all I feel like doing is getting rid of more of this stuff. I don’t even have that much stuff, but I’ve always dreamed of having a single dress in my closet, a pair of pants, my guitar, my voice, and my stories. Oh yeah, and a record player. Maybe some band-aids for paper cuts. Oh, the list gets longer. I am definitely amazed though by how much so many hold on to, or work for, or feel they need. I think I had to figure it out fast that so much could be eliminated to allow for me to have a lifestyle where I could center it around something so lucid and quixotic as songs. And now the treasures I find and do want to keep are much more backed with a story like money used to be backed by gold.
I figured out the exact temperature drop while riding on the back of a scooter last night with my friend when we passed a digital bank clock. Being on a moped has the effect of making old things new. Restless in this newfound climate we left our respective houses to moped down to South Philly for a gin drink I had had at this bar once with muddled honeydew and candied thyme sprigs. We nightdreamed of being city planners and turning everything into park respites and turning abandoned old gas station garages into patio perfect Italian coffee klatches.
A renaissance of personal proportions is happening and I’m sending out wishes that others are feeling the same. I also think that realizing this renaissance existing in each other is crucial. Spend some time sitting with someone and listening, be his or her balm but also stoke that matchstick. If you need to, list the times in your life that you felt the most at peace on paper and by god reinvite some form of that back on in to your heart. I’m saying all this just as much for you as I am for me. I know that everything will go better if I can make peace with seasons and know that it will drop 25 degrees in a quick sashay of a breeze. Or it won’t. I should know that I may find that lost CD in another case at some point. Or I may not. I know that a cared for notion is a seed for devotion.
I finished out this day two of the renaissance sidewalk chalkin’ with my nephews. We drew arrows to their shrubs on the stairs with the word “Bush” and then arrows into the house with the word “Busches”, group therapy I suppose for all the confusion we’ve faced. My one nephew drew a double-necked guitar not realizing that they existed beyond his imagination. “Oh they’re real” I said and debated whether to back it up with Google image fact or let him continue to draw his mythical beasts. Regardless, the renaissance definitely will involve double-neck guitars.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I’ve had a hard time picking what it is I am going to write about lately for you in this place. It’s more because so many things have been going on. I have been pacing along next to a Fourth of July parade queen literally and metaphorically. I’m hazy and delirious and as she throws things out of a bucket from the back of a shiny convertible mustang with that smile of adolescent high hopes I’m on the ground unpeeling all these sweaty candies.
So yeah. Back to where I was? Was I even anywhere? I’ll just stay on the asphalt with the candies as the convertible passes and now I’m headed over to the curb to hash this out.
James Brown once said in an interview, referring to himself, that “That racehorse, he don’t run if he ain’t got no lust.” This line, it’s always amused and scared the straight up dickens out of me and it’s been reoccurring in my head lately. The other thing that has been in my head is this passage I read in a Joni Mitchell biography. She talks about how it took a long time but that she reached a point in her life where for example she could see a beautiful man on the steps of a cathedral in Europe and just watch and not feel that need to make him hers in some way, there wasn’t that selfish joy but rather an observance of beauty being beauty in its own existence and the contentment of sharing this living existence perhaps separate but of the same humanness.
Is there a place where you can equalize your lust and desire with your chastity and aversions? Could it be similar to maybe the way an accountant does taxes or the way a barber cuts your hair?
An aside: A barbershop window to me has always been to me such a beautiful site. I love seeing grown men having to just be still and vulnerable under a cloth cape as another man goes about his art. He looks out the window with his eyes stretching up so as not to move and we make eye contact.
I want to go to this place. The place that has the people that do the thing for you in a very “this gets you that” way. Sometimes I think one of the reasons so many musicians feel peculiar is because our life’s work is not this for that, it’s not clear and so we are not clear, and this rolls into the context of our day to day life.
I don’t think I mean lust in necessarily a sexual way, although I won’t rule that out, I don’t like to be too discerning. But I think it’s more this constant quest that leaves me….feeling like I’m on a constant quest. It leaves me feeling alien. It leaves me feeling like I don’t know where it came from and can’t I just worry about finding a proper job.
But then I talk to my dad’s best friend and he wants to know how in the world do I write songs and keep them all in my head without notation or chords or any concrete evidence? Where do they come from? He’s amazed and wants to know. I do too. The best ones seem to come along like communications from Gods, ancestors, or people still living that need desperately for you to say something that they need to be said but for whatever reason can’t get it out themselves.
This lust for life, it’s how I see things. I watch the hands of people on their instruments and wish perhaps I could be every instrument that ever existed while simultaneously wishing I could be every hand that ever existed. I follow melodies like fireflies swooping and dipping lazily and try and understand the peculiar existence of them that are always beyond reach. Music never can really explain itself. I guess I can never really explain myself. Which I guess is why I’ve had alot on my mind.
I do believe there is a territory out there, perhaps mysterious like the Bermuda triangle but nonetheless there, where life is sensual and peaceful. I’ve been to this territory, I come and go and when I return I realize that there is where I want to be more than anywhere else. When my 87-year old neighbor peels an orange skin into a long curly unbroken snake and then pulls a worn bongo drum in between his legs and plays along to a primitive radio. He draws me in with a smile and shows me how to do it. That’s the place. Less racehorses that run on lust but lambs that thrive on love.
Where is this place for you?