Monday, February 23, 2009

Songs: For An Untitled Lady

It's a lil past Valentine's Day but...

1. Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
2. Freddie McGregor - Apple Of My Eyes
3. Os Diagonais - Eliana
4. The Guinness Cassanovas - Ain't No Loving
5. Con Funk Shun - (Let Me Put) Love On Your Mind
6. Bobbi Humphrey - You Make Me Feel So Good
7. The Fuzz - I Love You For All Seasons
8. Bill Withers - Let Me Be The One You Need
9. Terry Callier - You And Me (Will Always Be In Love)
10. Conjunto Libre - Risque
11. Donny Hathaway - Misty
12. The Velvet Underground - I Found A Reason
13. The Beach Boys - Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
14. Joao Gilberto - 's Wonderful
15. Natalie Cole - La Costa
16. John Betsch Society - Song For An Untitled Lady
17. Tim Maia - Contacto com o Mundo Racional
18. Linda Perhacs - Dolphin
19. Love Unlimited Orchestra - Whisper Softly

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"The Mindmeld" and "Building My Own lil' Inferno"

what do you stare out at in midthought?
what tangents does your mind take?
are you more likely to think about sex or food at a random moment?
if you could have sex in huge pot of any food, what dish would you choose?

do you wear contacts?
were you a dorky child? were you popular? a cheerleader?
are you a fashionista, do you own 1000 pair of shoes?
did you get laid last night?
or are you a born again virgin?

how do you like to be touched?
bitten, smacked, licked, loved, massaged, cajoled, nibbled, crawled up slowly by the fingers like a spider

do you love the smell of lavender more than anything?
do you dream in chocolate?
do you tap your foot when you become impatient?
do you wonder how many times, like me, this ceiling fan above us revolves in a minute?

should we count? together?

or what if we sat opposite each other reading the same book, the same page, the same words at the same time, laughing at different intervals, turning our bodies, slinking or slouching in the chair like this to make the body comfortable, the mind flexible and free
would our enjoyment intensify, would we become preoccupied, would we fuse and meld together, the text building an ink-stained bridge between two unhappy quiet countries?

would we raise our eyes up from the text at the same time and meet eyes and maybe giggle like schoolchildren or return quickly and clumsily to the page in embarrassment or in the absence of a better idea, in order to escape Intimacy?

maybe our minds would dual, our swords would cross like words on a sunday paper or fingers in prayer or legs in meditation, our lips would meet like hands in applause or in a casual and meaningful embrace that people don't let go of so soon

our eyes would slide all around the dancefloor of each other like feet

it may be that what would make me cry would make you laugh and what would make you strong would make me weak and what would make you die would make me rise and wings would break and light would crack, sound would fold and sun go black
we'd both curse yoko ono and then go back to our separate ways

would i tell you your nose is too small and your hair is too yellow and there is too much gray in this place and that i don't appreciate the contrast it creates in the world (gray that is)?

would you agree, would you not care, would you stand to leave, would you shrink
do i ask too many questions?
people aren't prepared with answers most of the time
and they're afraid of what their spontaneous reactions might be
maybe too shallow and too imperceptive

maybe i don't wanna hear what's going on in you
i don't wanna know a damn thing about your pain or your darkness
maybe if the seal is broken and the gloves go off, and all the preapproved modes of behavior are done away with, things could get too ugly for me and i'd whimper like a dog being hit with a newspaper in the nose before i scamper home, having learned nothing and lost my fantasy for now after attempting to indulge it

did you run track, play volleyball, collect hello kitty memorabilia, watch baseball with your dad in the summer, play with polly pocket, join the chess club, learn card tricks, jump rope all recess long, paint with your fingers, wipe your nose with the back of your hand, smile more than you do now and without shame?

do your socks match your shoes and your pants and your panties do your pictureframes match your candlesticks and your coffeetable
how many times a week do you wish aloud things were less complicated?

i wish too, and i wish sensation were enough
i wish emptiness of the mind were a crime
and you were taxed if you had more money than books
penalized if you had more false self confidence than you groped for wisdom
more balls than common sense
more determination than talent

Happy Thedayafter Valentine's Day

"He ended up recommending to all of them . . . that they forget everything he had taught them about the world and the human heart, that they shit on Horace, and that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If I Were A Painter I Would Paint This:

i stare out at the open psychotic abyss of the past.
i feel no fear, nothing inside me will allow me to tremble
i approach the guillotine stoically with a clear mind
every moment i have ever experienced before this is rolled out flat like an eternal pancake immeasurable and indistinguishable
the naked invisible casing and skeleton of this time
soon this moment's carcass too will fuse itself to that wall and become empty and hollow

for now i forget every face that ever stared back at me
they are as familiar to me as so many cloud formations that have floated overhead unnoticed, unspecial.

anywhere in the world i have been, i've found myself dreaming, doubted myself, fell in love, felt hatred, been wet and cold, and swam through the warmest waters, waving out to sea, stretching for the horizon that implies the ends of the world.

i am here ten years ago, but i am not. there is a different smell in the air, a different shade of light cast down by the sun. there are different voices, whinnying in a different timbre. the atmosphere is different. everything is eternally optimistic, but damnable. Passing by the local church, awe still fills me. Something sacred lingers. I feel lucky to be alive, at least I think that. I don't think i ever felt that. I was too young, but I knew that moment was special somehow. I'd walk those streets and breathe deep that heavy warm wet misty air and see the entire world out before me, ready for me to shape it to my will. I was ready to grow and seize every opportunity which would befall me. In comparison to that, now I am broken, hardened, still a dreamer, but my time is less. My zeal and excitement are tempered. I am fat with living, and yet have not lived enough. Where will i find room for the rest?

In this alternate past, I am on a rooftop drinking a red wine, with a woman in my arms. We make love, she pleasures me on that roof as the sun sets and we look down on the city. I feel the perfection of this moment. I feel we two are really shaping this moment in life to our satisfaction, letting go of everything else. I feel champion of the world, for a second.Here too, so many years later the sky is different, the colors of life are different, the bulidings, the air and the body that breathes it in through its nostrils and mouth. this new old body carries the weight. It carries the dream of a younger me, idealistic and pure, walking through empty streets in a land far east of here, when time was never my enemy, but still somehow solitude some times was. Time maybe first showed itself to be my terrible adversary when i was forced to leave that place. I knew then that the two years I had spent there would never be again, that those moments were frozen for me and I must remember them, because that was a capsule of my youth, my inimitable experience, my triumphs and failures, back when they didn't cost or win me so much.

Now i suppose things taste sweeter. the moments are shaped more to my liking. I am the one making the choices. Making the mistakes too. I can blame others less and less the older I get. I still sit alone in the dark in the wee hours of the morning. No one knows me now. I wait for the sun to make me his companion. Let him warm this little room up. I do not dream of riding on a beam of light, but i have dreamt about how when you put your flat closed-fingered palm up in the air covering the sun, it turns red and even as tightly as you can shut it, hundreds of little particles can be seen slipping through, reflecting off the light, and I wonder how I have caught the sun, mostly. I used to dream that when I was a kid. I haven't done that in years. The sun isn't up yet, but I think I'll dream it now anyway. The sun feels different to me now than when I was that age, trying to catch and stop the sun with my hands. Trying to hold a delicate yet breadthless warmth flatly on my hand, holding it back like a tiny brick in an everlasting wall of heat, balancing it against all other forces.

I yawn more now. I'm tired more now. I sleep different. Maybe more plagues my mind and I can't just rest through these thoughts anymore. Maybe more things are in me waiting to get out and now they know time is the enemy we must defeat.

I marvel at how one can look at a photograph and be transported back into that moment. I can see myself with this blue and red striped long sleeve shirt, baritone horn in hand. My parents both at my side, as proud as they ever might have looked. I remember that day, waiting for the concert to start. We all stood in line, we were going to play in the high school auditorium (we were in 6th or 7th grade). The kid in front of me played tuba, this Canadian kid. I remember him dropping his mouthpiece. It was a crisis. We stood outside waiting our turn, in the heat, for what seemed like hours. I remember now sitting on the stage, with my mouth poised, my lungs steady, eyes first on the sheet music, then out at the crowd. The lights reflecting off all the shiny brass of our instruments. I remembered the little excitement dwelling within me on this little special night in my little life, that I lived for a while on this little island in Southeast Asia, what should've been a completely alien place, but in a matter of years had become a new sort of home. The people I knew and loved and saw day after day, the streets, and buildings, the faces, the smells, the trees, the air, the things I knew most now were here. So now it was home. My family, the friends and people and things I knew for my first 8 years were somewhere else. But they were not as immediate as all this. As the sticky Singaporean heat that made one's glasses fog up when you walked out of the comfort of an air conditioned building.

So we played that concert and it went along smoothly, without incident. I remember my parents and my little brother outside waiting for me, their faces full of smiles. It felt like a family moment, one I will never forget, the sort of feeling we'll now never repeat. It was a moment, I feel sappy and cheesy to say, I felt pride. I don't even play anymore, it wasn't my choice to play baritone horn, and I wasnt that keen on the music we played. Hell, I wasnt even that good of a player. But I do remember feeling pride then. Looking back, I suppose I was justified in doing so. For even now, its one of the few actual accomplishments I've had in this life. I would've thought that by 26, I would've done so much more for myself, my life would've been figured out to a much greater degree. I would've assumed an adult "normality" , as it were. This is nothing like the way I assumed adulthood would be. Nothing. I imagined I would never spend a sunny, warm weekend at home alone. I would've been in a room full of friends, drinking beers, watching football and cracking jokes. I would never be bored, or confused, or alone. None of that is real. Maybe in the 80s that's what a 26 year old me would've lived. But in 2009, the world has changed, and things have happened to change me from the sort of guy who would be hanging out at a friend's place on Sunday, drinking beer, having fun, watching football, taking up my place in the American pastime of a 20something. Maybe i never was that sort. Maybe i was always an oddball destined to strike out on a different sort of path, and leave that quaint and happy, familiar early adulthood behind. I don't go to work all day and then go to softball practice and have games on the weekdays. I dont go to bars and talk to girls and make lots of small talk and have lots of friends. I don't know someone in every neighborhood I drive through. Not like the adults I knew when I was growing up here. Maybe because I wasnt allowed to really fully grow up here. Maybe because my home is spread across the globe a bit, or doesn't exist.

I had a flashback to another time a few minutes ago, but that moment is passed. I don't know whether to talk more about that familial feeling, the loss of an adulthood I'll never know, or making one's home in a different place for a moment at a time. These are themes I'll pick up again. I'll delve deeper into the places I've known as home for a while at a time. I'll think more about people I knew and things I remember. Riding a bike down this street and seeing this happen. Walking alone somewhere and what I was contemplating then. And how I contemplate it now. The way the sun feels at any given time in my life. It's so hard to imagine that it's always been the same sun, or has it? The sun, in its seemingly ageless enormity, still has aged along with me. And at every moment when I closed everything in me except my acknowledgment of the sun, wherever I was, at whatever age, that sun was different. As different as I was at each stage. Slightly different. It certainly meant something slightly different, but it's almost always meant something magical. I always hold onto that feeling of the sun in those special moments that I know I want to remember. I look all around me and say to myself that I want to remember how the light shone down on this place in this way at this moment. I tell myself I have to remember it. It's precious. the sun's light is always precious. No matter where you are, how old you are. Being alive is special. That's something often hard to really grasp, hard to remember.

being alive is special even when it sucks
when you're sick tired lonely and cold. when you're broke down and out lost or grief stricken. sad, angry, filled with rage, regret, felt betrayed, abandoned, unloved. still we are lucky, maybe especially in those times, consumed by the most terrible, forlorn feelings. feeling alienation, negation, nausea. This is what it means to be alive, to be human, to struggle and feel. feel anything, be it pain and these less than desirable states of being. it's all miraculous.

at this moment i want knowledge more than anything. I want to understand a thing, any thing completely. To know its secrets and hidden truth.

there's a pallid yellow light creeping up out of the horizon beneath a wall of pale blue clouds that encompasses the rest of the sky. if i were a painter i would paint this.