Tag: music

I’m Here For The Music Tonight


I’m here for the music tonight. Mine, yours, his, hers, theirs; the sound of the dark encroaching on the boundaries of light, the sound of people hitting the floor with fiddles flying, the sound of guitars resurrecting Spanish ghosts. I’m here for all the music.

I’m terrified of silence. Not the silence between myself and the empty room I’m in. I’m terrified of the silence between uneasy people, the silence that squats down on a street with thunder clouds that never break, the silence whose cold breath rushes across my skin without stirring a single hair or locust or ghost.

The silence that lets all the other voices in.

I’m here for the slow song blossoming into morning with the plaintive cry of the grieving dove shifting above us all, remembering before we do the lost notes of our sacred instruments abandoned for brief disillusioned passion.

I’m the grieving dove. I’m the bow of the fiddle. I’m the instrument shed to the ground in exchange for ephemeral passion whose cut-lawn fragrance fades before you can wrap it in your silk veil of prayerful propositions. I’m never sure the grieving is worth the life of the song. Never sure the grieving is worth anything.

I’m the muscle that takes you in and pushes you out of love. I feed you oxygen and blood and at the end of the day I would bleed you out if I could because you never appreciate the small gesture, the small proofs, the boutonniere of passion. You unwrap everything like the cheap chocolate you crave but hate because it makes you sick, because it never tastes quite big enough for you. Because it’s never quite sweet enough for you. Because it never satiates your false hunger.

I’m here for the music.

I am the music.


Magic Happy Shrimp Sex

more desert

The only thing that has the power to make me sentimental is the late-night trifecta: beer+(the right) music + a late late hour.

Flying over endless desert made me incredibly uncomfortable on my trip to and from Colorado. The desert is my mental and emotional hell. It’s dry, hot, empty. Barren of the things that bring comfort and sustenance but is full of snakes, spiders, and scorpions. What the fuck kind of person finds their spirit calling out in such a desolate death farm?

I suppose deserts make a lot of people see, for the first time, through the wrong end of the telescope to discover how small they are and discover God in that smallness. I don’t consider myself a particularly lucky person but perhaps in this one way my life prepared me early for the fact that we’re all specks of nothing against the endless awe-inspiringly epic backdrop of a few thousand/million/trillion solar systems.

Doesn’t  mean shit to me spiritually. I’m always thinking about the spiders, snakes, and scorpions milling around just out of sight.

Wearing striped socks distracts me from the vastness of the universe.

Just before I come home from work every day I have this moment when I hear all the things I need to write, when I feel the elusive words slipping down from the attic that I was grasping for when I was sitting in front of my screen on my day off. I try to hold onto them in the last hour before I head home hoping that I can run inside and transcribe them all like gospels. But the second I walk through the door all the clear strong words evaporate like morning fog, immaterial, barely relevant compared to my son’s immediate need for food.

I forget to settle back into the minutiae. You think the story is in the wide heroic actions, but I always find it in the pancake batter crusted on the fork left in the sink, hard as plaster and as appetizing as eviscerated trash. I don’t care about the large gestures as much as I care about the way a room smells the moment your heart shatters, or all the moments a lover isn’t thinking about sex, or the last onion frying in the pan.

I’m struggling hard to reconcile my day job with my family obligations and the obligation I have to my writing. I came here to my blog tonight because I remembered just in time that this is the chronicle of it all. Of everything. The good, the bad, the ugly.

I have come to treat it as the place I shed my political skin. The place I shed my socially conscious skin. The place I shed my spiritual skin, such as it is. I have made a bad habit of forgetting the real purpose of this virtual space of mine. This is an ongoing letter of sorts, a ceaseless note to self.


The Wilson verdict in Fergason is depressing, predictable, and despicable. I stand with the protesters for justice in Fergason in spirit and in belief. I know I’m white and as such I’m part of the epic problem in this nation, at least symbolically. But in reality I am always going to stand up with my fellow humans of all races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and genders for equality, for civil rights. And I’m not afraid to get hurt doing it if that’s what’s called for from me.

The desert makes me feel parched of hope and vision.

The only reason I am able to travel by plane at all is thanks to my anxiety medications.


Last time I flew without the aid of SSRIs I nearly disintegrated into a feral puddle of claustrophobic panic and disorder. I was certain the flight attendants were withholding water from me on purpose and trying to kill me with cookies loaded with enough thirst-inducing sugar to fuel a rocket.

I can’t choose between “Cracked Actor” and “Loving the Alien” tonight.

I’ve already listened to Miley Cyrus while writing this so please feel free to judge me harshly for being – I don’t know what – a philistine? A music junkie? A person without taste?


Listening to “Loving the Alien”  makes me smell “Paris” perfume and hear the purr of Mercedes Benz motors stretching down the highway through Marin County.

Listening to “Win” reminds me of wool “Willi Smith” trousers, socks printed with Chinese characters that probably spelled things like “Magic Happy Shrimp Sex” and “You Dumb Americans Will Buy Anything”. It reminds me of discovering San Francisco as a 15 year old. Let loose while my mom went to job interviews, I remember the fog and the smell of Macy’s. I remember feeling like I was HOME for the first time in years. The same way I felt when I arrived in Scotland.

Scotland and San Francisco are still the only two places that have made me feel that visceral sensation of being HOME. Being where I simply AM.

I love Santa Rosa and I feel at home here and I hope I never  need to move away again. It feels like home now, but not in the same visceral way as San Francisco and Scotland always feel.

I don’t regret moving out of SF. Not after the 200 rounds of ammunition were shot out a block from my last apartment there. And other shootouts. And other violent noises and daily city aggressions.

This post feels like one long slow bleed. It’s because I’ve written so little in so long.

“Five Years” is the perfect way to end this night.

The only thing I miss about my youth is how brilliantly I wore vintage men’s suits.

Everything but Pi

On my evening walk tonight I thought a lot about rhythm.  When I allow my mind to exist in its natural state it erupts into a chaos of thought that might seem, at first, to be completely without sense or order.  It repeats old thoughts, things I’ve said repeatedly like a sacred litany, things that I may have long since come to know to be untrue but the echo of the old conversations and thoughts still exist and my mind spits them forward and if I let it, it develops themes from them.  It then picks threads of evidence, pieces of inspiration, information, images, colors, memories, and it sorts through them, deciding which are relevant, which are not.  It evaluates the old thoughts and throws them against a wall of new thoughts, like wild paint.

Tonight my head threw out my ten year old voice saying “I don’t have any rhythm”,  maybe because I made my summer camp tap instructor cry from the useless efforts she exerted to drum a sense of rhythm into my putty feet.   Not considering the fact that unlike the rest of the girls (and boy) who had real tap shoes, ones that fit them, mine were unearthed in the Goodwill bins and weren’t the right size.  They weren’t even real tap shoes, they were some flattened patent leather shoe with an awkwardly low square heel made for prim spinsters to pull out during egregiously creaky weddings and funerals that took place in the uncool sector of 1969.  Or maybe I made this statement long ago because my piano teacher, who could see I had the passion, could also hear that I couldn’t consistently keep 3/4 time even if she tattooed it on my forehead.  Or maybe it’s because I couldn’t ever manage the square dance steps we were forced to count out in the dreary gym with reluctant boys.  Boys who were reluctant with me but who would have happily counted out stones in hell with Erin Fry.

It doesn’t matter what the origin of that old voiced comment is and in some ways it doesn’t even matter if it’s true.  (It’s true).  My mind threw it out while I walked two dogs against the sultry evening air tonight, catching errant thin wisps of cooler air slipping through me like weak thread.  I was listening to Pavarotti sing “Panis Angelicus” with Sting which was the perfect music, the perfect serenade to the setting light; the yellow rimmed orchestral clouds.  I heard that old voice, that old thought.

I have no rhythm.

Riches of thought about it flooded my mind.  This may sound unrestful, and to people who have a baseline for restful that verges on meditational I think my mind would create a maelstrom of instinctual fear and panic.  For me, this flooding of thought, of thoughts that aren’t more than texture, taste, and everything in the past week that caught my eye, my ear, and my mind, everything in my memory that resonates with this theme my mind has, for mysterious reasons of its own, settled on, are sorted and re-tasted, and it’s restful.

What emerged tonight is that there are so many different ways to think about rhythm.  It’s so easy to think of it as an ability to tap your foot in a particular pattern of intervals.  It’s easy to think of it as an innate ability to move your body to the influence of external notes in a way that others recognize as symmetrical or even purposely (and artistically) asymmetrical.  To be able to sustain a pattern.  When I peel away my conventional ideas about what constitutes rhythm something much more complex emerges.  I am able to hear irregular rhythms and still feel where the repeat is.

I was feeling elated.  Outside-myself-elated.  I often feel this way at twilight.  I often feel this way when I walk super fast with music in my ears and my eyes alive to everything around me.  I imagined coming home and writing about how amazing I felt, hoping I could share it eloquently enough that you’d feel it too, if you don’t already feel it on your own account.  Immediately I reminded myself that I often sound like a madwoman when I start spewing about my shimmering moments and how I inevitably crash soon after feeling that good.  My immediate thought was: I wish I wasn’t the way I am.  I wish being as happy as I am tonight didn’t mean that I will almost certainly feel equally low within a day or two.

But then I saw it as my natural rhythm.  Yes, it is tangled up in my mental illness and if I wasn’t mentally ill my moods would be less dramatic and experiencing elation wouldn’t automatically predict a corresponding crash in mood.  I admit I felt shame for a minute.  “I must not share this crazy happy moment of my life because it isn’t real.  It’s a fabrication of my mood disorder and when I wake up and read what I’ve shared I’ll want to die because I’ll know it was nothing more than this imbalance of mine.”  While those things are true, that when I experience elation it’s often much more dramatic than others experience it, what I saw tonight is that it’s a part of my own rhythm.  Perhaps those who aren’t like me might dismiss my highs and if they dismiss my highs they will almost certainly dismiss my lows as well.  I am a person of extremes.  Of strong contrast.  Of immediate contradictions.

But if my shining moments aren’t worth sharing, then no one’s are.  Just because there is greater disparity between my happiness and my despair doesn’t make it less real.

Whatever else I am, I am not artificial.  My moods are genuine.  They might seem sudden and unpredictable to some but if I’m listening I can hear the tune clearly, I can predict the next fall, the next rise.  Life influences the rhythm just the way an instrument and a conductor may both wield a strong influence on a musician’s rhythm.  Although I dislike Stravinsky I think my rhythm is wild in the same way his is.  Discordant and jarring, but fresh and unfettered.  It gave me pleasure to think on this.  To accept that I will plummet as surely as I will rise.  Everyone does.  I just do it more loudly.

I think the world is stinking rich with unique and uncharted rhythms that people orchestrate, that nature itself writes all around us, that we don’t recognize as rhythm because we don’t take the time to hear the patterns repeat.  The only thing humans know for sure that doesn’t repeat is Pi.  I think even Pi must have some kind of rhythm.  I think we just haven’t found it yet.