Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Equivocator and His Massive Nights: My Four Favorite Nights of 2006

I’m waiting patiently for it to end. 2006. I haven’t liked this year.

Many of you know why, or at least most of the reason why. It hasn’t been easy dealing with the end of a marriage. Or the beginning of a new life. Or a new-ish life. One that feels different from what came before. But it’s not different. It’s really all the same.

For a year that included some of the worst days of my life, 2006 had four of the best nights of my life. Exact dates sometimes elude me. But I know these dates. Usually I don’t give out too many “specifics” about my life. I hide names and places. I give you pieces. For a year that has contained much difficult solitude (and some good easy solitude), each of these four events involved at least one other person. For a year marked by my ingrained sense of wanderlust, three of these four events took place far from Los Angeles.

About two years ago I found an old journal I kept when I was 19 during my sophomore year of college. I hadn’t read the journal in years. I was a journalism major then, switching to psychology eventually. It’s funny how my journal entries were written in the style of a newspaper reporter – the facts, the who/what/when/how and not much of the why. I reported the events of my life in brusque emotionless fashion. A typical Saturday might have gone like this:

“Worked double shift at theater. Went out to Davanni’s on 66th with John Pa, John Pe, Blaine, Brett, Sara, and Michelle K. Brett played We Are The World on the jukebox seven times.”

Reading this “report” of my life another 19-year lifetime later, I knew the rest of the story: Brett was annoyed by the behavior of some “jocks” at another table. To piss them off, he selected the then-new We Are The World as an act of revenge, playing it on repeat seven times because that’s how many songs you get for a dollar. Sara and Michelle K. were friends. We were lucky to have them with us at Davanni’s, the deep dish pizza place in Richfield. I had a crush on Michelle (Her house number was my PIN number. Her house number is my PIN number. A little creepy yes but I’ll never forget it. Yes, she could find me and steal my wallet and take my money if she remembers where she lived in 1985. But it’s not like I have that much in my account anyway.)

What’s important here is that it only seems like I leave the most important things out of my blog entries. Look carefully. It’s all there. Or most of it anyway.

My Four Favorite Nights of 2006 (in chronological order but with a decreasing level of detail), written in my traditional journalistic style (or not):

May 15, Milwaukee

In 1986, Sigmund Snopek III released an album called Wisconsinsane. It was a song cycle about life in his home state. It impressed me and many other Midwesterners at the time for its sweetly nostalgic and poignant piano-based songs that make one half- laugh and half-cry simultaneously. He then pretty much disappeared from music, at least as far as I knew. He never recorded another non-classical album with lyrics. I lost my beloved cassette copy of Wisconsinsane and my vinyl copy sits in an attic in Rochester, Minnesota because I haven’t had a turntable since ‘91.

In May, I was visiting Chicago, 100 miles to the south of Milwaukee, for an academic conference. I had told a sassy schoolteacher in Wisconsin that I liked the music of Mr. Snopek. On my second night in Chicago, I rented a car and drove to Milwaukee where I met this schoolteacher in front of a laundromat in a river-adjacent neighborhood. We ate at one of the few restaurants open in Milwaukee on a Monday night. We then had frozen custard, a local specialty. She said she had a surprise for me! We went to a nearby bar where, apparently, Sigmund Snopek III played every other Monday night. There he was, slightly disheveled but touchingly spirited, playing the theremin (!) for an audience of four. He wasn’t alone on stage. Along with him was a burly young man in a Green Bay Packers jersey. He may have been Sigmund’s son (IV?) During one of the younger man’s long and impressively symphonic guitar solos, Sigmund went up to the bar for one of his free drinks. It wouldn’t surprise me if they paid him entirely in drinks. During this break, the schoolteacher who’s also a roller derby queen went up to Sigmund and told him I really liked his music, that I longed to have a copy of his long out-of-print CD of Wisconsinsane. He shook my hand, asked me where I was from. Los Angeles, I said. “I had a wild night in L.A. once. Then we drove from Santa Monica to Milwaukee in 36 hours.” I didn’t ask him who “we” was. I thought “we” could be the Violent Femmes for whom Snopek was a touring keyboardist for a while. It seemed he was now very entrenched in Milwaukee, happy with his role as troubadour for Monday-nighters at the Linneman's Riverwest Inn. He then revealed that the schoolteacher/derby queen had contacted him earlier through a friend of a friend, telling him that I was coming to the show and to ask him to bring a copy of Wisconsinsane for me. He handed me a homemade copy, saying he was very glad to hear that his music meant so much to me, after 20 years. He then asked for 10 bucks. Which I gave him. He played a few songs off the album, including Call Me and Rose of Wisconsin. I wanted him to play Summer Guest, the second greatest love song of all time, a piano instrumental that moves me every time I hear it. I should have asked him to. But the night was perfect as it is (thanks Carrie – that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.)

(postscript: This is Sigmund. And the other guy)

July 21,

I was back in my old hometown for a visit and to research a possible relocation there (Note to my current employer: if you find this, I like my job. I’m not looking to go anywhere else. Really. Fight On.) It was a lovely Minnesota summer night – not too hot, not too cold, a perfect night for patio dining and movie-going. My friend Sara and her roommate Jen took me to dinner at a restaurant called The Craftsman where I had what I considered then to be the world’s greatest turkey burger (turns out there’s a better one in Chicago which I discovered a couple of weeks ago.) Come to think of it, 2006 is, in addition to being Ali’s Year of Irreversible Change, is the Year of the Turkey Burger. There will be a list soon – the Five Best Turkey Burgers of 2006. I like turkey burgers.

Anyway, the three of us enjoyed a great dinner on the patio. Eventually it drizzled slightly but the umbrellas protected us. We then drove to the corner of 36th and 43rd. Or is it 31st and 38th? Wherever the Riverview Theater is, that’s where we drove. We saw Thank You For Smoking in the world’s most lovingly restored old movie theater for 2 dollars, maybe 3. It was just a great night, overall.

August 11, Los Angeles

I had more “first dates” in 2006 than in any other year of my life except for 1997. This is both a good and bad thing. This night was a good thing. Helena and I planned to have dinner at the so-good-it’s-bad legendary L.A. Mexican restaurant El Coyote and then see Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita at the nearby (not so lovingly restored) old movie theater, the New Beverly Cinema. But the restaurant was crowded and the service was slow and it was too late to see such a beautifully ironic film. Instead, we went to the horrible Beverly Center Mall to see a movie that one could consider the exact polar opposite of Lolita, Clerks 2. I liked that movie. Driving down then-sleepy Beverly Boulevard after the very late movie, I felt an ease of life that I want to keep struggling to find again. And yes I enjoyed my date’s company too.

December 23, San Francisco

I sure traveled a lot this year. Suffice it to say that I never expected to be wandering the dark streets of San Francisco holding a boombox that didn’t belong to me, participating in a performance art piece called Unsilent Night. Nor did I expect to later be sitting in a nearby burger joint (actually called Burger Joint!) enjoying a root beer float with a great person (a writer, the owner of the boombox, Laura). But sometimes the best boats on the high seas are the unexpected ones. What the hell did I just write? I can do better than that. I have better metaphors at my disposal. But I’ll just leave it alone.

So four memorable nights out of 363 (so far) isn’t so bad, is it? There were other good nights, ones that would easily make the list if I wasn’t restricting myself to four for the benefit of my reader(s). Speaking of memorable nights (or, as The Hold Steady call them, Massive Nights), if you asked me a year ago to predict who would tell me the news of Saddam Hussein’s execution and where the telling of this news would take place, I would never have guessed Debbie Harry and Agoura Hills, respectively.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Previews of Coming Attractions

In the next few days and weeks, you readers will be subjected to:

1. A retelling of "The Sbarro Incident." A true story. It happened to me. Yesterday. A story so good and delicious that I must first tell the story to as many people as I can in person before writing about it. I won't even discuss it by phone (unless you live at least 380 miles away from me). So I need a few weeks to get the word out. In the meantime, you deserve some tasty details, hinting at what will be in store. I will say these three things:

Yes, I was acting like a bit of an a-hole. But come on!

There's no excuse for me even being there. Sbarro? What it this, Ali? 1985?

There were six of them. One of me. No, I'm wrong about that. There were seven of them. This is the best part of the whole experience - where it all came crashing down and I could walk away knowing that there were no winners or losers, just future storytellers. And the story they're telling? The Sbarro Incident.

2. A poem in which I discuss why 2007 will be a good year. Why? Well, the name of the poem (still in progress) is Years That End in Seven.

3. Year-end lists. Films, books, TV shows, songs, cereal fruits, shoes that I have owned, etc.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Can You Get To That?

I keep changing my mind on my top 2 love songs. I need the holiday weekend to work it out.

In a few hours my vacation starts. No work until January 2. No long lonesome walks through the desolate studentless university I call "home" for 1/3 my weekdays. No more free chocolate turtles and holiday sno-caps. No more well-considered gift cards.

My plans for the break? A long drive and a short flight. Lots of music from 1988 and 2006. A few movies (Inland Empire, Borat for the second time, The Good Shephard, etc.) Perhaps a massive chorus of boomboxes in a park somewhere.

A knock on my office door. I think they're giving me money.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Third Greatest Love Song

Joan Jett of Arc - Clem Snide (2001)

I first wrote the following on September 6, 2006. It's still true today:

Shakespeare painted the Mona Lisa. DaVinci built the pyramids. Kennedy freed the slaves. Eef Barzelay wrote Joan Jett of Arc:

She’d fix me a dinner of sunflower seeds
And ready-whipped topping inhalers
And take me down south with Hall and Oates in her mouth
My first love, my Joan Jett of Arc

My black heart was heavy
But her mom’s Cougar was fast
As little pink houses were whistles
And it was all you can eat at the Sizzler that night
My steak-burning Joan Jett of Arc

The shopping malls and roller rinks all dimmed their lights
Cicadas and crickets were silent
And the train tracks like stitches skidding bicycle tires
As I slipped in my Joan Jett of Arc

And the birds that were crushed
Once had air in their bones
As oil was refined in her honor

Now here's something I just wrote today:

This song ranks so high because the songwriter beautifully chooses the elements of his most important relationship ("my first love") and tells an evocative story that could easily be a movie. Though some lines could be called "clever," Eef sings with a sincerity that could butter ten thousand pieces of toast. Plus, the last 3 lines are about as perfect as poetry gets.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Waiting For The Sun

After my last post I know I shouldn't do anything too "cute" but come on - this has got to be the cutest baby in the world (congratulations J & M (& A)).

To counteract the cuteness, I intentionally replaced my blog photo with the Frankensteinesque monstrosity you see today.

The list continues tomorrow.

I was in Chicago this past weekend. It was nice. Good turkey burgers in that city. Are they know for their turkey burgers?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seymour Chews Up A Kitschy Cardboard Coaster

1. Seymour gently nibbles on the coaster, getting a sense of its texture and taste.

2. He chews off one corner, pondering the costs/benefits of eating more.

3. No doubt about it - he wants to devour this thing!

4. Oops. Got some detritus stuck in the catfang.

5. THIS is the best angle - standing it up, from the side, making use of the sharper corner teeth. Mmm this is good.

Meanwhile, Lily watches it all from her perch, wondering what time Gilmore Girls comes on.

The 4th Greatest Love Song (3 tries)

4. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen (1975)

I've written about the opening two lines before. Today I'll talk about the rest of the song. First of all it has no chorus. I can think of very few chorusless pop/rock songs (Maggie May comes to mind.) It's one of the great songs about escape and it shares that with at least one of the songs on the list (the more dour Long Vermont Roads). But Bruce doesn't want to escape alone. He wants to bring Mary with him, to get away from "the town full of losers." Wait a second. This isn't a love song. He'd leave without her. What about a song where someone wants to leave (or stay) in a town with one of those losers? What about...

4. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman (1988)

Nah. She doesn't love him. She really doesn't. This isn't a love song either. What about...

4. Tower of Song - Leaonard Cohen (1988)

You didn't think I'd forget about Leonard, did you? The thing about this song is that it really isn't thought of as a love song. It's about a man exiled to a "tower of song":

Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on
I’m just paying my rent every day
In the tower of song

He boasts of his gift of the golden voice (a line that got ironic chuckles at a the two Cohen concerts I've attended but who among us has a more golden voice?) and tosses off a bitter verse that almost unveils the reason for his exile. But then the final verse, the only one unequivocably about love and the one where Leonard sheds a tear (listen to how he says "got" in the second line) and we know why he sent himself to the tower:

I see you standing on the other side
I dont know how the river got so wide
I loved you baby, way back when
And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed
But I feel so close to everything that we lost
Well never have to lose it again

And after the 27 (or 2) angels again sing their background hymns and Cohen catches his throat, he's back in the tower laughing on the outside but not on the inside. It's no surprise he spent half the 90s in a Zen buddhist mountain retreat.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The 5th Greatest Love Song

Rather than give you the Top 5 in one lengthy entry, I will make you wait for it, giving you one song per day. Relish the wordy attention lavished on one single overrated (by me) forgotten (or ill-remembered) song.

5. 'Til You Can't Tuck It In - The Beautiful South (1999)

I like duets. Not the typical syrupy Streisand/Mathis or Blige/B.I.G duets. I like the quirky kooky duets, with wry vocal tradeoffs and mad beats. This song celebrates old love. OLD and LOVE. Do those two words even fit together? Hard to say. Anyway, this song celebrates two aging lovers. First, the sentiments are greeting card-sweet:

Your quick-step is slower
But your spirit's still out on the floor
And you can still hack it
'Cause you know what your feet are free for
And I'll love my dear
'Til you can't tuck it in anymore

Then it gets flat-out weird:

Your quick-step is slower
But your spirit's still out on the floor
When it comes to raw beauty
You've a whole whorehouse waiting in store

And despite the comparison of a woman's beauty to a whorehouse (and no - there is no "got" between "you've" and "a" which make it all the better), it's all as pretty and pure as a dewy morning under puffy clouds. Plus, the song itself is amazing - a rollicking mix-CD centerpiece that never fails to get some folks at the board game party to ask "Who is this?"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Answer

This blog's (sort of) namesake poem from 9 years, 7 months, and 20 days ago is available here - at one of the most under-visited sites there is!

And about those reports that the Timberwolves may try to trade for Allan Iverson..... all I want for Christmas is for this to happen! And maybe a subscription or two. That's all.

(yes I intentionally chose 2 incredibly expensive magazines there. Ask for the sun and maybe you'll get the moon)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Top 15 Love Songs (Part 2 of 3)

10. Nashville - Liz Phair (1993)

Yes, I put one song called Tennessee and another that mentioned Tennessee on the list already. Pure coincidence. In this song, Liz Phair (maybe just maybe my favorite songwriter ever, this despite her last album, Somebody's Miracle, which even I'm having a hard time defending) expresses the hesitancy of falling in love in one line ("I'm starting to actually feel it seep through the slick divide") both before and after confirming the very presence of love ("I can't imagine it in better terms than naked, half-awake, about to shave and go to work.") But before she gets too sentimental, the song descends into a mantra-ing of the final line - I won't decorate my love - repeated either 14 or 18 times, I can't remember.

9. Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton (1974)

The best vocal performance on the list. Here, love is expressed pretty completely within the opening four lines:

Lovin' you is easy ‘cause you're beautiful
Makin' love with you is all I wanna do
Lovin' you is more than just a dream come true
And everything that I do is out of lovin' you

This is followed by a half-human half-feline all-soprano "la-la-la-la-la..." and that's enough.

8. Two of Out Three Ain't Bad - Meat Loaf (1977)

A song that contradicts itself. Jim Steinman may have meant exactly what he said when he wrote:

I want you
I need you
But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
Two out of three ain't bad

However, Mr. Loaf (as he is referred to by the style-consistent New York Times) delivers those words in a way where one and only one thing is clear: he loves her. You don't give a vocal performance like that if you're not in love. He may be lying through the whole chorus - he may not even want or need her. But he loves her. This much is true. You see, she's done him wrong. She's been cold to him for so long he's crying icicles instead of tears! The only way he can save face is to tell her he doesn't love her. But when you sing a song as desperately beautifully as that, love (if it's there) will always come through.

7. You Were Right - Badly Drawn Boy (2002)

Here, the singer admits that he's spent his life substituting music for love, mixtapes for flowers:

And I
Was busy finding answers
While you just got on with real life
Always hoped you'd be my wife
But I never found the time
For the question to arrive
I just disguised it in a song
And songs
Are never quite the answer
Just a soundtrack to a life
That is over all too soon
Helps to turn the days to night
While I was wrong and you were right

The two - music and love - aren't mutually exclusive (hence the existence of this list). But they can be if you're not careful (hence the existence of this list). Also, what propels this song from say, #12, to #7, is the way whatever-his-name-is transitions vocally from "I just disguised it in a song" to "And songs..." Perfect.

6. The Magic Beads - Jane Siberry (1982)

A gentle folk song. A wispy but resolute Canadian singer. A long distance love, with one (or both) of them running out of patience but not giving up:

Oh babe I conjured you up by mistake
I know that I'm supposed to wait
But when will I see you again?

She's singing to someone, a writer, in California (that's where all the writers are, they're a funny breed.) This is the most sentimental song on the list (except maybe for number one) but I have my sweet side. I do.

Monday or Tuesday - The Top 5!


I have to take a break from the list to offer praise to:

1. FreeDarko's Style Guide in which basketball players are deftly divided into 20 brilliantly illustrated categories. The enthusiastic praise from the commenters is touching.

2. Tenacious D singing Kickapoo on Saturday Night Live. I wonder where this Kickapoo place is. I'd like to go there. After viewing this, go see the movie. They need the numbers.

3. Malcom Gladwell approaches racism (of the Richards/Gibson/Irvin variety) with the veracity of a mad statistician, complete with operationalized variables. Please forgive him for the Irwin misspell.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Top 15 Love Songs (Part 1 of 3)

Lately I've had conversations about the Love Song. What makes a good one? Simplicity? Hope? Sadness? Inevitably this would lead to a list. And I might as well do it today, listening to Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell album on a lovely Los Angeles winter day (window open, jacket eschewed).

My Top 15 Love Songs (Part 1 of 3)

15. 52 Stations - Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians (1982)

When I was an undergraduate at the gritty urban University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in the 1980s, the student newspaper ran an article listing their writers' favorite love songs. One of them chose this song. I found this odd. I liked Hitchcock's music but I always thought of him as a chronicler of the weird and the whimsical, with an affinity for fish and corpses. Then I listened to this song again and I got it. The lyrics are nothing too special or lovely, save for the killer opening couplet:

There's fifty-two stations on the northern line
None of them is yours, one of them is mine

And that's enough to know that this is one of the sad songs, a paean to lost opportunity. It's a train song too. A sad train song is always a keeper. Hitchcock (a Brit, not an Egyptian) gives one of his best vocal performances and sends a shy college student on the other side of a big ocean straight to the import section of his local record store where back catalogues are combed.

14. Your Name - Tricky (2000)

Striking in its simplicity, lovingly dueted by Tricky and Ambersunshower (those are great names!*).

I love and you love me
One live as two, two live as one
Under the mango tree

Whether you like mangoes or not, or even if you're allergic to them, that's a pretty great sentiment.
*-Boogie Nights reference

13. Long Vermont Roads - Magnetic Fields (1995)

This may not be the saddest song ever written. But it's the saddest vocal performance I've ever heard. Stephin Merritt (over)mournfully sings of the elusiveness of love, chasing something he can only describe with kooky metaphors:

Your eyes are toothless young men
In Tennessee in the rain again
Your eyes are the Mesa Verde
Big and brown and far away

Then, sad Stephin gets to the end of the road, alone and tired of the drive:

After all this time and after all your crying
The roads don't love you and they still won't pretend to

Then it's over. That's love.

12. Tennessee - Silver Jews (2001)

Now this is a love that might be going some place! Sure David Berman sings "You're the only 10 I see," an awful pun but one that makes you realize he truly loves her. He just wants to take her away from the place he hates - Lousville - and bring her to place he loves - Nashville. Having never been in either city I'll take his word for it. This song also includes one of the best lines ever uttered in song: Referring to Nashville, he sings "We're going to the land of hot middle-aged women."

11. Lulu - Trip Shakespeare (1991)

As someone who immerses myself in the history and poignacy of music, I gravitate toward songs that make their own references to musical memories. In this song by the great forgotten Minneapolis band, Matt Wilson writes about his favorite not forgotten St. Paul band - Husker Du:

Lonely when I hear the band
That used to play when we were looking for music
Lonely when I hear the band
Do you remember? Do you recall?

But he's really writing about a girl that went away to school:

Now her jeans lay against the grass
And new days have killed the past

New days always kill the past! So please forgive Trip Shakespeare for the fact that their guitarist later wrote and sang Closing Time ("Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end") and listen to this song.

(tomorrow or maybe Friday – Numbers 10 through 6! And yes I will ackowledge the existence of the 60s and 70s. And women.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Meetings About Lists

We'll pretend yesterday's bizarre post never happened. I won't delete it. I'll just move on. Keep in mind that I wrote it 7 years ago. I posted it yesterday out of boredom and a need to see something new on the page.

Today is a lovely day, weather-wise. Also, it's 10:36 and I've completed more real work in the 2 hours and 1 minute I've been at work than I did all of last week. It helps not having meetings, not having "busy work."

Of course I like meetings here. Unlike my previous job, where we had pointless meetings about needless meetings (thanks taxpayers), here we have meetings that actually mean something. And when they don't, they're at least entertaining. Really. For example, yesterday I learned that.... No, never mind.

(Be careful: If you follow the link in the previous paragraph you'll be transported to a time of innocence and marriage and screenplays about dream merchants.. you'll be transported to 2005!)

This morning I awoke to NPR's coverage of the Senate confirmation hearing of the new Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates. I stayed in bed, drfiting in and out of sleep, for 30 minutes. It's eerie listening to Senators giving carefully crafted platitudes and forming formless questions while blissfully cradling oneself under the most comfortable comforter in the world, with pockets of wakefulness invading one's bubble of sleep. It's not as eerie listening to Gates give sturdily confident answers to those formless questions, answers that unfortunately say nothing and will surely get him nominated. At least he's better than the previous guy. Who could be worse really?

If you're into year-end music lists (and who isn't?), go here for a very fine list of lists.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Listening to The Cure's Disintegration While Driving On Imperial Highway Between Brea and Anaheim on the Fourth of July, 1989

Early in the high wind night of the Fourth of July, 1989, I heard a plain song wafting over the squat hills of a suburban town. It was a gracious town of lived-in ardor and unhappy families and some happy ones too, maybe. I rode, in a plain blue car, hearing the plain song drifting now, riding up on its spent melody, repeating its ache for the fourth time, for the fifth, time, for the...

Miles later, I heard another song, this one coming from my own place, from the inside of my plain blue car, this plain song writhing, inching in on its own spent melody, repeating its own ache, for the seventh time, for the eighth time, and then I think I see something and then I don't see it anymore and then I do and then I don't and for the ninth and final time the ache is repeated and this time it gets to me, the song, that is.

I'm back now, by the squat hills of the small town. I am not driving in circles. Rather, it’s a straight line, back and forth, the same cities, the same scenes, back, forth, forth, back. And the fireworks start. I stop the car, at the highest squat hill and a third plain song comes on the car stereo, this song unblinkingly plain in its earnest desolation, a silence almost. The colors are majestic, the colors are high, the booming is majestic. I have the best view, I do, and I am alone. The third song rejects melody for something more real and revels in its own sunken dread and hopeless longing, for the first and only time, but a long time at that. The fireworks build to a sad crescendo and die in a flight of shamed light and spangled glory. I drive away from the prone town’s highest squat hill and find myself back on the straight line road, listening to a singer’s memories of bad love.

Still, back and forth, straight line, fireworks done in all directions and one of two homes to go back to, one more than most. I think of where it would be best to sleep tonight. I consider the factors: my hunger or lack of it, the weather tonight, the weather tomorrow, the book I'm reading, whom I can talk to and where, the lateness of the hour, the sense of space, and of course none of it is enough to remind me that the singer is anything but sickly sad at the plight of a steep plummet into something destructive. And if this is what’s happening to the singer, or if this is what has happened to the singer, then what does it matter where I sleep tonight? I think, I have two places to go, one more than most, two more than some, and this is a blessing.

I wish I had a circle to drive between the two places and not the same old straight line. That would give me more of a sense of purpose. As it was, I felt like I was imposing too much on the one long road and the three towns, two of them small, one of them medium. My sense of imposition circles inside my brain until the moment right before my revelation, that this song, the last song, was the one that truly got to me. The one that truly broke my spell of knowing why I was traveling the same road, stuck with the same nothing decision, staining the same part of my brain.

I was out now, out of the dense fragmentation that the night and the music and the fireworks and the road made for me. I was finally free and now I would sleep. Of course, I am closer to one of the two places than the other and that would be where I would sleep tonight if not for one thing. That I now want to sink myself into that song, back in that elevated little spot I stopped at to watch the fireworks. So I take myself there. I open all the windows. I turn off my headlights and find the song on the tape again and listen closely this time, to the words and whispers between the words, to the way the tail end of one long moan became the premise for the next high tumble. This was what I was looking for all the time. Little did I know it wouldn’t always be so easy, this easy, to locate the one song or word or person or thing that it would take. And the song, most definitely not a plain one, roars into its unspent and open melody for the first time and I almost cry, for the second time and I do cry, for the...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Somebody's Miracle

I should be blogging more. I know. I've let you down. It will get better.

But I've been busy. What have I been busy with? I wish I could name it. It's just that the days are shorter and the TV is better. The sleep is shorter and the workdays are busier. It could be worse. Remember the late-2005 blog posting wars between me, briefhistory, thingsoncobras, and babypyro? Two of those blogs are no longer and the third may soon be as obsolete as neorealist fiction.

Plans for the weekend: Fast Food Nation. USC-ucla. IKEA (for a bookshelf). Laundry. The Crossword. A cool breeze through a slightly ajar window. Poetry.