Mateo: Clouds are often magical. I didn’t think I would get there. It’s been 27 years and the spring stuck around a lot longer than we both thought. I saw these clouds lead me to that special place, by pointing at the ground with the shadows, much like an indecisive index finger. These mountains kept me locked in, but I still searched diligently, in the places that I knew and remembered. There was a tree nearby. In the 50 mile radius, there was a patchy cottonwood tree next to a once boisterous creek and I recall we carved our names on it. I was going to meet you there on the 2nd of March, in 1961. I made 30 cents an hour and didn’t know your last name. I found out later it was Henley. And I couldn’t pronounce it. Braceros had to make their way back home after the season came to an end, but I knew I had nothing to return to. Everything I needed was here, waiting by this tree. So why did I not meet you? Why did I leave you there to wait? Did you wait for minutes? Hours? Days? I hope your love has not fermented into hatred for me. I hope the only thing that faded has been the grief, and not the spark in your eye. If the tree still stands, I will find it. If our markings have weathered like a monument on bark, I will find them. It’s taken me 27 years to realize all of it is fleeing. All is fleeting. All of it. Except you.
MAY: On this winter day, the ice blades bobbed up and down Lake Michigan, shuffling against one another like uncomfortable cousins cramming into a couch at a reunion. The pier was bitter and slippery, but I had to be there for the sake of Tera. She had been over due to rise by eight years or so. So much waiting done on these frozen over planks that I forgot time could actually pass. The days have felt the same to me. Trapped in the ritual of 6 o’clock. Though I get to grab the big jacket in winter instead of my Lions cap in summer, it all still feels the same. Even the seasons become lukewarm changes to the fairly constant weather in my head. It’s hard to take in. Not even the anticipation is worth remembering. Is this what happens when you lose your spark? Is this it? Not for me. Not for us. When we read the story you made in Mrs. Taylor’s class, complete with abstract renditions of waves that billowed more so than crashed, you said you belonged there. You knew exactly where you were going. And I am proud of you for wanting to discover the underwater kingdom you dreamed so much about. My Tera. My spark. I still see you working on your coordination as you ride your silver bicycle, as you stumble when you dance at seven years of age. But you are fifteen now. Instead of practicing your balance you practice speed as your tail gains muscle and you cut through the water with a grace I’ve only seen above.
My daughter. My long gone spark. I miss you terribly. But I can’t wait to see you rise again.
I’m affected by the grief of others. Although I’m told this is not so common, I don’t want to believe that. I’m of the opinion we have what it takes to be empathetic and kind to one another, even if we forget sometimes. Hopefully we can move toward a more empathetic world by learning to listen again. How do we do that, I wonder? Listening and patience and ultimately understanding, comes from practice. That initial concern for others? We all have that! Over time, it fades into the background, but it can be more accessible if we reacquaint ourselves with caring. Care for yourself, yes, it is essential you treat yourself well, emotionally. But care for each other as well. Caring for each other scales beautifully. So let’s get started.
Yesterday, I needed to get this off my chest and so I typed away, and the mechanical clucking of the keys tapped a beat enticing enough for me to keep going until a conclusion came. This one worked the moment I started writing. Felt right. Didn’t struggle. It just came together (a rare thing). Hopefully I can make good use of this one and turn it into some lyrics. Be well and happy Thursday.
Humble Thomas (Showboat Waters)
Humble Thomas, sunken back, you march
and all these bruises in your heart
These dialogues, in tongues you can’t interpret
Did you think you would remain so parched?
Humble Thomas, you’re forgiven
Say no more, for we prefer it
Tight lipped, statue draped in valor
You ameliorate the land as droplets
bleed onto the sand
So Humble Thomas, indirectly:
Would you ever go to bat for me?
There’s a line of fire, always burning
And your fans they chose to come so early
Thomas Thomas! Up your smiling!
And I bet your stomach’s surely turning
We can float you down the river
Come one and all, come all the same
Civilians long to end your thirst in full display
Humble Thomas, drink the water
The communion of the martyr
Have your fill inside the theater
We bring deaf applause and bring back carnage
Humble Thomas, give me desert
Let me gobble up your liver
As the leaves, they turn and look away
In the shame of how we choose to play
I had this all typed up on Saturday and forgot to hit PUBLISH. That’s never happened before. Tends to happen when life gets in the way. Loads of noteworthy content came to mind these couple of weeks, thanks to my YouTube wanderings and escapist mind frame.
Working on highlights and other content for the Oyster Ridge Music Festival, so I went to one of my favorite live performance videos from the last few years: This documentary about the Largo venue in Los Angeles. To do produce a work like this, specifically for live performance arts in this segmented form, is one of my dreams. Maybe something like this is possible in Casper? We shall see! But for the time being, it serves up a fresh batch of inspiration for me to work on the videos soon to premiere online! Stay tuned…
Did I mention I came to terms with my affinity for notebooks this week? I feel an eagerness to start writing when it feels immediate, rekindling my love of notebooks is to fire up that old obsession with filling a page. So much so that this week, I finally started working on a song I’ve had in mind for over three years! I have a backlog of music that need lyrics, including a collaboration with my pal Dust Jones– So I’ll need all the momentum I can get! I stumbled upon this article outlining the various types of journaling. It’s given me some ideas this week on how to start using my notebooks for something other than creative writing. I also found this one, which just gave me more notebooks to purchase. I have a problem now.
Re: Working on my songs in the near future, I’ve been looking out for solid free resources to produce beats DIY style. Reddit and this guy were super helpful!
And lastly, I’d like to share a track that has been the soundtrack of my daydreams and scribblings: Michael Kiwanuka’s Cold Little Heart. This song absolutely destroys and gets me to that place just beyond the horizon where I can see my characters clearly…