Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Worlds WIll Be Changing When I Get Through

Austere and Lost

"You believe in some ridiculous things."

I know. But lots of people do.

"I'm not talking about the ridiculous things in religions. Or the shit you see on TV."

Yeah. I know.

"You believe in the phone call. The phone call that will change the world."

Not the entire world. Just my world.

"Your world doesn't change with a phone call."

Not yet.

"A single phone call?"

Not yet.

"Shouldn't there be some process? Something that takes a while to play out?"

Maybe. But maybe the world just changes with a phone call. Maybe you look back later and you see the difference. Maybe you divide everything into before and after the phone call.

"Has that happened?"


Not yet.

"But still you believe."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Did I Hear You Say That There Must Be a Catch?

Better Hurry Cause It's Going Fast

42 years after writing this song, Paul McCartney finally gets around to singing it live on stage.

And, just for good measure, here's the "original" Badfinger version:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let it Ring in the Air


One of my college professors loved to say "where there's poetry, there's hope. Hope for redemption, hope for change."

Sheila, who never met that professor, bit into her bottom lip, her voice quivering. "How do I know I'm not just a bad person? Maybe that's why these things keep happening to me."

And I stared at her, wondering what to say.

"I've done some bad things," she said, almost whispering.

And she listed them. And I tried not to look shocked.

Because some of them were bad. Really bad.

And before I could answer, before I could reassure her, she said "But I know I'm a good person."

And she left, reassured.

Ironically, I wasn't so sure.

Because she didn't seem to learn from what had happened. She repeated the same behaviors. The ones we both thought were bad.

Except that she pulled back and decided that, even if they were bad, she was good.

It seemed absurd.

But who was I to judge? I didn't know her heart. I didn't know her intentions.

Besides, shouldn't it count for something that she was asking the question... even if she wasn't getting the right answer?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thought I'd Be Out of Here By Now

Past the graveyard, voices whisper to me

The awareness comes out of nowhere.

Sitting in a small room. Listening to a band with a huge sound.

In a city. Where I don't want to be.

My face turns white as a sheet. And I look to the southeast.

Sudden and completely focused.

The woman at the next table, whom I vaguely know from somewhere, looks over with alarm.

"Are you okay?"

No. No, I'm not.

And I turn. Literally monitoring the energy. Up the street. Passing the small room. And continuing north.

Then west.

Then north again.

Slowly, very slowly. The color returns to my face.

The woman touches my arm.

"What was that?"

How do I explain?

"It's like a GPS," I say, then stop.

No one believes this. But I know that it's true. I've felt it, dozens of times.

I've confirmed it, several times.

The energy passes by. Uncontainable. Unstoppable.

"But you're not moving," the woman says. And I not.

I'm not moving. I'm right here. "She's moving," I whisper. I point. "She was there. And then she passed by here and went there. And there."

I stop pointing. It all seems absurd.

But when it first happened, I confirmed it.

The energy was hers.

And it pops up from time to time. When I'm close enough. When I'm in tune.

I don't explain this. I don't tell anyone.

It seems impossible.

"What do you call this?" the woman says again.

I think "GPS of Doom." But I say nothing. I don't want to explain it. I don't have the words.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sometimes I Get This Crazy Dream I Should Just Take Off in My Car

You can travel on 10,000 miles and still stay where you are...

We'd planned a trip.

An epic trip.

A loop all over and around the country. To all the places we'd dreamed about but had never been to.

We'd never gone as far as planning the route. Or discussing where we'd go.

But it always had been there. In the background. On the list.

This would happen. We would do it.

I didn't know when. I didn't know how.

But I knew. And so did she.

And back then, nothing else mattered.


The trip never happened.

Maybe it wasn't meant to happen.

Maybe we were too young. Or the circumstances were wrong.

Or the planets weren't aligned properly.

But it never happened.

And for years I never thought about it.

Until recently. Late at night.

Not in the familiar urban freeways.

Out in the middle of nowhere.

Where the exits are dozens of miles apart.

And the trees lining the highway cut it off from nothing but open land.

Out there, in the dark, that's where I remember.

That trip. The one we never took.

And I wonder how far I'd need to drive to get there.

Which truck stop she'd be waiting at.

What insanely small knapsack she'd be carrying, thinking it had everything she'd need for weeks, months, or years on the road.

And I pull over before the exit.


Sit and think of her for a moment.

Wondering if she ever went to the places we wanted to go. If those places are still there.

When the stillness of the universe wraps around me and the car, I know I have to make a decision.

Take the exit and return home. Or stay on the road. Into the night. Into the unknown.

The engine whispers "Go."

But engines never tell you what direction to take.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Now Just Shut Up and Keep Your Hands on the Wheel

Walkin' Down A White Sandy Beach Somewhere, Eatin' Something...

"Listen," I said.

And she shook her head. "I'm not going to listen."

So we fell silent. For another 20 miles.

Then I tried again. "We can talk about it if you want."

She shook her head.

We'd been in the car for 10 hours. I'd driven her to see a long-lost relative. Then waited outside for 20 minutes.

When she came back out all she said was "home."

Hours later, we stopped for gas. I stretched my legs. She bought a Coke.

I knew better by then. I didn't ask.

But I shot her a look. And she knew what it meant.

So she took a sip of her Coke. Looked me in the eyes. And said again "Home."

Then she turned and walked back to the car.

"Home," I repeated.

Sometimes that's all you need to say.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It Was Cold and It Rained, So I Felt Like an Actor

Telephones, Opera House, Favorite Melodies...

Delia was adament.

"I never want to get old."

She wanted everyone to remember her young. Didn't want laugh lines. Or wrinkles. Or grey hairs.

We scoffed at this. We were teenagers and couldn't imagine any of us getting older. Let alone Delia.

Between the multiple speeding tickets and the multiple drinks and the multiple other things that were hinted at but never confirmed, she seemed the least likely to get old.

But still.

The news always takes you by surprise.

Especially since she gave up speeding. And drinking. And all drugs and most of her other vices.

Still, she didn't give up walking.

In a town where brakes fail. And trucks can't stop.

So Delia got her wish.

And word filtered out (in those pre-internet days) through a series of phone conversations, delivered haltingly up and down the east coast on a rainy, cold Sunday in the early Spring.

Today there'd be emails. And Facebook pages. And probably a website.

Back then the news flashed up, flared, and faded.

Delia loved David Bowie (although if she'd lived she probably would have hated much of his output from the last 20 years).

But today is Bowie's 65th birthday. And this was her favorite Bowie song:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Emerging from the White Out

From the Shadows

She walked into the woods in Autumn. Said she was going for a hike. Took a vegan protein bar with her.

But she didn't come back.

The town organized search parties. There were helicopters and stories on the news.

But no one found anything.

Except a bandana. With a speck of mascara and a drop of blood.

Just a drop -- not enough to seriously warrant concern.

And then she vanished.

Five months later, she emerged.

Walked out from the snow. Thinner. And much lighter.

She talked about the birds she'd seen. Said she'd had long conversations with them.

She said she'd built a snow cave. And eaten berries she found.

But after a few months, she needed sustenance. Needed company. Needed food.

So she lured wild animals to her, told them stories about far-away places, listened to their stories of the woods, then thanked them, killed them, and ate them.

This, she said, was sacred.

This was important.

And then, in the Spring, she lured a bear to her camp with stories of cheerleading practice.

But the bear said she couldn't eat him.

The bear said perhaps he should eat her.

She agreed. This seemed the normal way for things to end.

Then the bear wandered off. Distracted. Drooling over a deer fattened by eating out of a dumpster of a trendy restaurant.

When the bear was gone, a fox came by and told her it was time to go.

Besides, there wasn't enough meat left on her to satisfy the bear. She'd die for nothing.

And, said the fox, there might still be things for her to do.

Outside the woods.

So she walked out. Back into town.

And the fox nodded, knowing more than he would say.

Which is often the case.