Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't Tell Don't Tell

Tonight, I'll be going to the Motel Motel show at The Market Hotel (1142 Myrtle Ave. @ Broadway - Myrtle Willoughby JMZ stop). What a fitting venue for these two fine bed fellows: Motel and Hotel. I think personally I like a motel better. Sure hotels are great with their indoor pools and room service, mints on pillows, fine china, orangutangs running up and down air shafts a la Dunston Checks In (#9 on my top 1 million movies) and their Sealy's Certa Posturpedic Mattresses. However, no one can deny the ragged glory of a motel sign flapping in the breeze on the side of a highway next to The Best Dinosaur Exhibit in the Midwest. Heart shaped jacuzzis, vibrating beds, continental breakfasts with bad coffee, cheap room rates for two hour affairs and rattling chain linked fences around half filled swimming pools are what this country is made of.

Of course my roommate, Erik Gundel (see sideways smiling in the center), is in the band so I am biased in my lodging decision. However, these guys put out a great first record - soon to be re-released. I think I relate more to the dense rock that shows off a bit of Walkmen influence than the alt-country aspect, although I could see them sneaking in a few Little Feat swamp jams in the future. In any case, for their current sound, check out some of the videos on YouTube from SUNY Purchase, courtesy of hot shot beat reporter, sometime gum shoe, and public dick - Erik Lilleby.

Last one in the pool is a pool.

See below for the next installment of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt"

Coming soon: AN EPIC POEM


I’m lying in my old bed. Eve lies next to me. The walls are bare and blue. All of my trophies are gone. They’ve been gone for quite some time. Ever since I graduated from college and started at the firm. Who would’ve thought that I’d be an accountant when I was running on grass past the white lines on the lacrosse field? But I suppose I was always good at numbers I was never that great at lacrosse. I could run, somewhat, so they made me a midfielder. But all that is past now. All those faces are off somewhere. Maybe still around here. Cicero and Gertz. I know they’re still living close – Huntington I heard. I didn’t even invite them to my wedding. I knew what would happen if I did. I knew how they would act. I’m better off for it.

But Eve is still curled on the tan sheets, dreaming whatever dreams she’s dreaming. Can she feel the baby in her stomach? How long is that supposed to take before they know? I always thought it was instantaneous. A mother would know immediately when that little ball of life and electricity forms inside her. She didn’t, though. At least she hasn’t said anything to me. What if she does know? What if she has been waiting for me to tell her I lied, that I hid the positive test? Those things aren’t accurate anyway. She knows that too. Who was she telling me about? It was an actress I remember that. It was Halle Berry! Halle Berry took the test almost thirty times before they realized she was pregnant. She told the story on Oprah. If it could happen to Halle Berry, it could happen to anyone and so that means I can delay too.

I don’t know why I did it or why I’m continuing. There she is, her chest rising and falling underneath my white comforter. The white makes the tan of her skin and the black of her hair stand out even more. It compliments them so well – it makes them realer than real to me and I’ve known her for so many years now.

I can still see the image of the first time I saw her. There must be millions of husbands that can say that to their wives? She was wearing a blue t-shirt and the sleeves were short. I remember because I thought there was something strange about the way the color looked with her skin and her hair, and because the sleeves were short, I could make out the slight definition of her shoulder muscle. I’ve never been one to notice a detail like that either but I did, and that’s what meant everything. She talked to me first. The image of her head and neck leaning back to look up at me. But that was the first image, not the lasting one. The lasting one was from our first date. After we finished dinner – it was sushi, yes it was – we walked up the street together in the streetlight. She had a thin white scarf on. In the orange light, her coat looked maroon because I wasn’t paying attention and it was actually navy corduroy. Her hair was longer then and pulled up, the little strands stuck out around her neck. I was so nervous I’d barely eaten anything. I awkwardly put my arm around her and I realized I was in love. Who could make a movie about a moment like that or try to explain the feeling? For me it happened with a movement of my arm and nausea in my stomach. That’s what true love felt like then and now. That same woman is lying next to me. My wife is carrying my child in her stomach. What is it I am afraid of? Is it the baby itself or Eve with the baby inside her and what this will all mean for us? I’m not afraid. I shouldn’t be scared. Not me, not the one who holds the family together. But Eve is pregnant and something inside of me is screaming in fear.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hiatus Over...Reign of Terror to Begin?

It's been a long month. Christmas, New Year's, watching puppet shows, Barack Obama, NFL Playoffs, the sun. One of the coldest Januaries I can remember in years. I am back to one hundred percent healthy. I can do this for all of you, whoever you are. I'm gonna get ripe like these tomatos and swiss chards upstairs there.

I'll be good I promise and make sure to give ye plenty t' read. Starting with another section of "From Here to the Last Mound of Dirt."


I’m alone now. I’m outside by the pool. The world is dark and the moon is waxing. I’m cradling the bottle in my right arm as I lay on the lounge. Nearly waxed this bottle off over the whole day. A bottle a day keeps the doctor in me at bay.

But there is so much to heal. Both of my daughters and both of my sons. I can see myself in James so much. The way he tries to heal people, to mend wounds. The difference is, is that he’s more like his mother. He’s noble, he looks noble; he sounds noble, and is noble to the point that it can be irritating. Except to the person who loves you. Me for Rose. Eve for him. I’ve healed. I can heal. I do it and did it in my own way. Quietly because it was a duty and duties are done in silence.

There is a coolness touching everything. I can feel it caressing my skin and my hair. If I walked on the perimeter I would feel it hovering over the leaves. It’s the autumn. What was that one good thing Kerouac said? Everyone goes home in October. Well it’s not October and everyone is home.

But no one cleans the pool anymore. I did it twice this summer, but we always leave it up to that robot now. It’s not the same, though. When we first got the pool James and I would both clean it. He’d listen to his music and do it during the day and on the weekends. I’d come home from work and clean it at night during the week. Look at it, glowing greenish and dark denim. It’s always looked this way in the dark. Those deep blue stones. Santos charged a high price but the work was worth it and who am I counting pennies? I was never a penny counter. This bottle feels good on my gut. It’s not quite a gut, but when I slouch like this, it’s unavoidable.

Yes, it’s definitely a cool night. When I was growing up, every year I looked forward to nights like this in September. During the day, the sun will beat down on the flowers and the trees, but at night, the wind picks up a little. The way I thought of it was that the cold hid in the ground until winter and that in the fall it made its first reemergence only at night. It made logical sense to me then. But tonight everything is touched by dampness and coolness. On all the leaves and petals there will be little marks of moisture.

I’m an old man now. My wife is dead. The songs of my youth don’t ring in my ears like they used to. I never thought I’d be old. Look at Cutty Sark. The bottle never ages, it keeps being produced looking the same and never changing. Orange label and orange liquid. If only humans could be as simple and adaptable as that. The model of my body has been outlived. I have four children that prove that. I have four children. Each one probably detests seeing me like this. I’m sure they all know about my past, the mistakes and jokes I made. I don’t regret it and I never did. Rose may have saved me. I’m sure she did because I couldn’t have helped the kids the way I did if I was getting like this all the time. I could’ve loved them. I always would’ve. But I couldn’t have helped them. I couldn’tve been a father. Although I never quite figured out what that meant. I heard the phrase “be a father” at soccer games, dance recitals, music concerts, and lacrosse camps, but I never really understood it. I had a part in creating them and I was always there to help. But I never knew when I crossed in the holy territory of being a father.

I suppose it all means as much as you want it to or as little. There are plenty of fathers out there who simply planted the seed for their children and didn’t do a thing after. Yet, other fathers destroyed their children’s lives by taking their title of “Dad” as a license to kill their child’s independence. Being a parent is terrible, but it’s a business I’m glad I got into.

I’m getting more sentimental. It’s not just because my wife – my guide – is gone, because it was happening before that. I’m seventy in January. That’s not so old, but old enough that the memories and sentiments pile up enough so that you can be sentimental. I don’t cry about things. I’ve heard about men near death who were easily brought to tears. They cried over Christ, talk of sex, love, American presidents, war and music. It’s funny, the only thing that seems to be missing from that list is death itself, but no one really talks about that as one of the elements of life. Because it’s always seen as the opposite. I don’t think it is. It’s as much a part in life as love or anything else. I’m going to die soon. Rose already did. The clouds are moving in over the stars. I need to finish this bottle and start the next one. Each day has its own agenda. What is tomorrow anyway?