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Posts Tagged ‘time’

The Who’s album Tommy was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll experiences of my young life.

Growing up in Detroit, we all listened to CKLW, sure, but that was Motown and all the pop hits of the day. I doubt there was much hardcore British Invasion. I specifically remember the song Winchester Cathedral and thinking it was cool, very cool. I would stand on my bed and play my tiny suitcase like a guitar and sing that song. At least I think that really happened.

I remember being a young girl when I first saw the album Tommy and paging through its mind-blowing, well, pages. When I was about 4 years old, an English woman, named Linda, who must have been in her 20s, came to live with our family. We sort of sponsored her, as she was a nursing student at the same school in Detroit where my mother was also studying to become an LPN. Linda had a cache of albums, 2 of which I can still picture in my mind. The album I am sure about is Tommy, but I couldn’t tell you without some research what the other one was. It must have been 1969 or 1970.

Say what you will, but no one writes rock lyrics like this any more (as if anyone ever really did; by which I mean, very few bands were able. The Beatles come to mind for pure poetry though….)

waking up on Christmas morning, hours before the winter sun’s ignited

it’s sort of beautiful, you know?

Fast Forward: 2011. Daltry is 67 years old in this video, which is amazing in and of itself. He’s accompanied by Pete Townshends’s [much younger] brother Simon who does a DAMN FINE job on this song. He looks and sounds so much like Pete.

What a bod on that Simon. Where has he been all my life? Oh, right, I’m almost as old as he.

I get a little weak in my knees (and I’m sitting down) when I watch him, which I seem compelled to do over and over and over…..

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25 years ago at Thanksgiving dinner at our family friends’ house in a suburb of Detroit, I took my last drink of alcohol. I’m sure I had a glass of wine at least. More than one glass? A beer? That I don’t know. I was never picky. I loved all alcohol. If the occasion called for wine, that’s what I’d be drinking.

I remember driving north, probably on I-75, then I-94, to their house. I have no idea what suburb. Was it still Southfield where they lived or had they moved on? I remember the barren fields, the low winter sun, the flat landscape on the highway. Did we pass the huge tire on the side of the highway, did we pass one of the first super-flashy moving digitized billboards I’d ever seen in my life?

My mother lived in Farmington Hills, Michigan at the time. Paul and I would drive up on the weekends and visit her, stay in her ranch condo, rent about a dozen movies from the arty-farty video store a mile away, lock ourselves in the den and watch movies all weekend. Sometimes we would fight, inevitably we would have sex, sometimes we’d go out to eat, even if just for lunch, sometimes take a walk in the sterile “neighborhood” that was like all of the other hundreds of condo neighborhoods in the suburb I grew up in for a few years when I was still in elementary school. The condos and sprawl came later, after my family moved away to a suburb of Toledo.

I had skirted around AA for about a year, hanging out at Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings with another friend of mine from college. After the meetings, we’d go out and get drunk at one or two of my favorite townie bars in Kent.

When I finally went to my first AA meeting, after being invitied by a woman who I banquet waitressed with at a sprawling restaurant in Hudson, Ohio, I felt happy and at-home right away; not like I felt when I was around the dragged-down energy of the people in the ACoA meetings. The alcoholics were a happy, gregarious lot; the codependents were pissed off and low.

It only took me a month to know why I was so comfortable in the AA meetings. These were my people.

Last drink, Thanksgiving Day, November 1987.

And that’s all she wrote.

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The Underside of Sleep

1. verba volant

the words play tricks on us at night
fireflies flashing in a summer field

connect the letters
to spell summer
before the lake forms from the ice melt

before the hickory nuts fall open in the road

when the earth plumed sulfur

2. autumnal

sounds like tumble

the morning turns pitch
and smooth like onyx

hematite, marcasite
black-mirrored minerals
hard iron oxides

The last blood
trickles out at the wrong time of year

late summer crickets
a static
to the traffic

3. winter

Sleep sifts
like snow drifts
inside my head

When I wake
and open the doors
a mound of snow pours onto my feet

the way the beginning of darkness
pours out of me

4. carving infinity with a scalpel

I trace the sideways symbol
on the underside of my arm

the skin soft, spotless

the rain sounds like an animal

spring rushing in

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I love this photo and I made it my whateverthehell photo on Facebook. You know the photo that once you switch over to Timeline you can put up a photo that’s even bigger than your profile picture? This may have been from our last beach day. Was that still August? Yikes. No, I think it was already September. Jeez. I can’t remember and I don’t want to think as hard as I’d need to to figure it out, accuracy be damned!

I like this little float plane.

Today, the leaves were perfect. We drove up out of the Valley and as the air is colder at night up in the hill towns, the leaves were already looking like they had peaked. But they haven’t. Just some of them. It was raining and damp so the colors popped as you know they do.

I loved this little float plane and some kid must have left it on the beach because it was near sundown and the plane was all alone. I had my eye on it for a few hours. I wanted it. I wanted to take it home. As the tide came in, I kept moving it up the sand so it wouldn’t float away and pollute the water even more than however polluted it already is. As if this made any sense. Like Holden Caulfield in his innocence and naivety thinks he can save the kids.

When I finally approached the little float plane, it was much cheaper than I had imagined it was from a distance. I had this image in my head like it was some superior plastic and like it was a real plane somehow. It had the power to fly me away or to keep me overnight at the beach so I could live on the beach every day, just a tide of mornings with my little blue, solid and superior plastic plane, to a tide of nights. Me and my plane and the beach and the tides. An endless end of summer.

The plane was full of little gaps in the plastic, little seams that let the water seep in so that it didn’t really float like I thought it would when I placed it on top of the shallow ocean. It sort of tipped its wing and then I didn’t want it. I only wanted the perfect little plane of my imagination.

That is wrong on so many levels. First, I was going to steal the plane. I mean, really. That was the first thing. Then, when I got the courage up to get closer to it after a couple of hours of keeping my eye on it, I didn’t even want it because it wasn’t good enough. It’s just a crappy plastic plane made in China that will stay here on the earth for thousands of years, not breaking down, probably choking a beautiful aquatic mammal. But look. I got it. This is the way it was for me, the way I first saw it. I know you can see it, too. Look at the sand and the light. It really is perfect after all.

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This is me, singing, again. The video is grainier than usual, not sure why.

There are a couple of other examples of the same song on youtube. Check them out.

Fleeting Days

Time, what an empty vapor ’tis!
Our days, how swift they are!
Swift as an Indian arrow flies,
Or like a shooting star.

Our life is ever on the wing,
And death is ever nigh;
The moment when our lives begin
We all begin to die.

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Hubby, my older daughter, and I went to see Gogol Bordello in Boston last night. I figured out a little bit more why this is the best live band I’ve ever seen, and, when you go, the best live band you will ever see. It is their interaction with and inclusion of the audience in every move they make on stage. That’s not the only reason, but it’s one of the overarching ones.

One of my favorite things last night happened after the concert. We were driving back home on I-90 and we stopped at a rest stop to grab a bite to eat (I try, I really do. I had a cooler and food bag packed with healthy stuff, but McDonald’s fries and coffee won out in the end). While waiting in line, a 20-something man noticed my [new] Gogol Bordello t-shirt and asked, “Were you at the show?” He was in a state of bewilderment, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, a halo of bliss above his head. I answered that yes, I’d been at the show. We began to chat. It was nice to see the reverence in his face, the gears clicking in his head trying to figure out how it was possible for such a band to exist.

I also struck up a quick conversation, still in line at McDonald’s, with a teenage girl (14-years old, maybe) who had the same happy, dazed look on her face.

“Did you just come from the concert?” I asked.

“Yes. Weren’t they amazing?” she asked.

“Yes.” I answered, and: “Had you seen them before?”

“No, have you? Does he tour a lot?”

It was all so endearing.

♦ ♦ ♦

Just 2 hours ago, I bought tickets to see Gogol Bordello on Lake Champlain for a mid-August concert. This time, I’m going for it. Up in front of the stage with all the pretty young women and raving young men. RIGHT UP FRONT. That’ll be me backstage, the only sober person in a throng of groupies trying to share a bottle of wine with the band. Maybe Eugene will let me massage his hands. Or forearms. Or the twisted erector spinae muscles of his back. Yeah, that’s how fantasies work around here: me massaging famous rock stars.

It’s like my kid, clucking at me to Stop it, Mom when I was bounding, fleet-foot, up the aisle last night, dancing around, twirling my new t-shirt in the air. Nobody cares, Violet. Nobody cares what I am doing. They are not looking at me. She danced next to me the whole concert, her face glowing and carefree, safe with her parents, buoyed up by the good will all around her.

I’m here to be happy, to fill the empty spaces with energy and heat and vibration. Just like that band up there, biding our time and asking everyone to join in the ecstatic moments.

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Algonquin Park, Ontario, perhaps 1989

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