Friday, October 30, 2009

moonsong

leaning over the bow, my chestnut hair/
flows into the wind as i sing unto heaven/
sweet, tremulous air/

for i render all as sweet, my love/
'though I am lost in a storm of faith/

i have witnessed/
with the sailors upon the water/
that the sea draws near the moon/
and back again/

this turbulent hope/
this succulent pain/

round the shores once more, my love/
embrace the mist of day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unfathomable, this life. Let's love it.

If I were to tell this story as true no one could believe it.

Well, perhaps it is not so unbelievable; it is me and my life.

I played the Ace of Clubs last night in New York. I was whisked away after my set and so didn’t get to hear the musicians on after me… but the adventure I did have! Getting a head of myself….

I must tell it in first person, immediate, now, so as to relive the experience… for at this very moment of writing it, I am hung-over and I may still be a little drunk and so the mind is less constricted (well, my mind is rarely constricted anymore, since I mostly have learned to ignore it. I don’t usually like to drink so much wine, but it was the moment and that was the time….)

Here now, Wednesday, October 14th, 2009. 7 pm.

Walking to the train and taking the train with Debbie, who is blooming so much right now. She is so beautiful. So very beautiful. And she is so much fun. She is so graciously letting me stay at her two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn just one train stop over from Manhattan. We bustle down Bedford where we spy records left on the street.

“Records!” we shout. She has the old school player, which I am adding to my wish list to buy. Someone had left a pile of undesirable-to-them-but-another-man’s-treasures, mostly Christmas albums, and we pick up some Mozart and jazz.

I can see why she left LA for NY. The energy is so open, so interested in all you out there and everything you are doing and driven, very driven. LA is driven but very differently. New York is basted in the juice of it and LA has tucked it inside, under the skin. Neither is healthy, per se. Both are exciting.

Get to the club, check in. Lovely Alex Cave and his song partner perform first. Acoustic Beatles and singster songsters tell of riding in cars and obsessive love. My energy, my nervousness, which I pretend to choose to ignore, converts into snapped strings and lost pics. That’s okay. I open myself up to the experience of it, and love it. And lo, a friend from childhood! The boy who grew up around the corner from me, who I used to play vacuum cleaner with, who, with his sister, we would roam the fields and woods and find little turtles and rabbits as pets… and then, another treat! My dear friend the violinist! He, the violinist, takes both my hands. “Are you nervous? Well, now, no!” He says. He wears a beautiful black leather coat and his silver hair is sleek. He introduces his friend, the artistic director of the Kiev Orchestra, who wears a beautiful red leather coat. His dark hair is sleek and dramatic as well.

None of us fit in at this club, we all look a little out of place. Everyone is wearing jeans and tees. For me, this is often what happens. I am always a little out of place. I apparently like it, because I never make much of an effort to fit in, visually. I just choose to listen to everyone instead. The other bands and the other club goers are amazingly nice, truly, truly.

I am wearing a low v-neck silver tunic. The v goes to just below my bust line, showing deep cleavage, and then the top is tight around my waist. I wear it over black leggings. I wear my mother’s cameo ring on my right ring finger and my friend’s Mayan Ruin ring on the pointer finger of my left hand, which I must switch to my right hand for performing. I wear a sparkly scarf and a lot of lipstick and smudged eye makeup. My hair is its natural auburn right now, loose and layered with bangs. I am five pounds overweight at the moment and I carry it in my tummy and my breasts. I am okay with it. I feel very womanly.

I take the stage. I play along with backing tracks for some songs, then give up the protection of it all and fly free. I go into my heart and feel the spotlight on me. I hear the people talking but soon they begin to listen. Is this boastful for me to write about this? I was recently called out by a friend for being boastful. But is it boastful to tell my experience? Is this my ego? I will tell you parts of the story that aren’t as flattering to myself to make it even.

I am a capable guitarist at best. I can never be bothered to perfectly tune my guitar and I know it is because I cannot believe I have to play guitar in the first place. THAT is ego. But after years of playing, I can handle a basic strummity strum, at least more than what Rita Hayworth plays (fakes) in Gilda. I should practice the guitar and become very good at it but I just don’t want to. I want only to sing, only to write songs and sing. I prefer to have a band back me up. I am a show woman. I like that. I am not perfect nor would I ever want to be. I want to inspire you. I want to entertain you. I want to move you and be moved by you. I want to have communion with the listener and I am a listener as well. I want to share an experience with you now here at this moment and I want it to open deftly, skillfully, some fiber within me, within you, made of light, which pulls and expands upon the tissues of our soul, be it physiological or energetic, known or unknown, hidden or apparent.

More flaws: I have been eating dairy and so my voice is very phlegmy. I feel we recorded the record in lower range that is slightly too low for me for performing live and I am upset with myself over it and yet like it at the same time. I have the ability to hold many conflicting emotions at once and be aware of some or maybe most of them and it is very confusing although perfectly normal and at the same time inspirational for songwriting, performing and acting. So while I am singing I often cry and laugh and appear to be a lunatic. I do not care. I must be truthful to me experience onstage so that I can be my nice, normal self girl off stage. Off stage I am a normal girl who wants to look pretty and be happy and hang out with her friends and pay her bills and volunteer and spend time with her family and get a nice boyfriend and have pets. On stage I open myself up to any experience that comes through me. I feel you out there and I will take that energy and share it, and share mine with you, and together we build that tower of Babylon, that tower of song.

I see my flaws as positives because I can learn from them.

I love, while I am performing, that Debbie films me. I love that people stop talking in between songs to clap. I love that I never know what to say but my mouth flaps anyway. I love that when I tell the audience that I am a die-hard member of the lonely hearts club, a girl that I do NOT know shouts out, “Nooooo! No you’re not! Don’t talk that way about yourself.” “You’re right,” I say. “Thank you for correcting my speech.” I think about Wayne Dyer and wish I were more like him. Only not. I love my life. So I sing another song. And another song. I sell two CDs. Life is beautiful.

I love, during the set, that the director and the violinist give ovation to the violin solo. They are classical people. They behave accordingly. I love that the other bands are drinking and merry making. They are rock and rollers. They behave accordingly.

After the set, my friends part ways but for the violinist. He and Debbie and I go to dinner at the Cooper Square Hotel. It is terribly beautiful in that hotel. We order salmon from the salt bar, and I eat way too much bread and butter. I will never be thin again if I continue to indulge and yet I am nervous and excited and I do not do drugs so instead I eat. My friend orders way too much wine and I indulge. I am not proud of how much I am drinking, but I am doing it anyway. The wine is, let’s just say, half my rent a bottle. I do not feel guilty, I choose to enjoy. I choose to live here in this moment, and pray to god to let me help somebody. Maybe that somebody is me. I pray to god to let me help whomever I should help. It is all relative. The night before on the plane, I bought a man a pizza because he had no money. I am no saint. I am just a singer doing her turn and her twirl. So my friend loves wine, and he shares it with us. I feel a little guilty. And not. See? Conflicting emotions at once.

We talk to the concierge about music. The violinist insists I give the concierge a CD because he is a producer. The concierge sends us to Zinc. My friend has a driver and a car on hire for the entire time he is in New York. Felix, the driver, is so nice. He is from Dominican Republic and has sons who are 30. He takes us to Zinc, this fantastic jazz club on Houston. The tables that are open are right down in front, where I always end up sitting. My friend leans over and asks me about my love life. I shake my head, “no,” and pout. He says, “You need an older man. That’s who can handle you.” “So I hear,” I say. “And so I write about on the record.”

I laugh out loud. I work so hard to NOT be too much for men my own age. I have never dated a guy my own age and I am told it is because I am too much. Too much. Too much. Either these guys gotta catch up or I gotta figure out some other way of existing. I do not know how to be anything other than myself. I do not want to be with an older man. I will be, if that is my lot. But I have only ever dated older men. I want to date a guy my own age- for once- see how it goes. I just scare them away too fast. Bummer.

Oh that’s not true. I dated Justin, he was a year older than me, and Jens, a year older than me. Those boys were fun. And probably if I had not been so crazy, they were very nice boyfriends. Hm.

I think the problem has been, until now, I am too much for MYSELF.

Ah.

Aha.

I’m backing off that. Now. How? By giving that to my musical life, to my writing life, to my acting life. As Candace says, give it to my r-e-e-l life so that my r-e-a-l life can be nice and normal. I wake up in the mornings. I run. I do yoga. I eat oatmeal. I run errands. I talk to my roommate. I wave to my neighbors. I go to my day jobs. I sometimes am exhausted but go to those places in me that are not so that I can do a good job for them. I am excited that I have two free days in New York. I am scared about the money. I cannot afford to be here. But for my soul, I cannot afford not to. I am dedicating the day to writing and then tonight my childhood friend and Debbie and I will go to CafĂ© Luxembourg. I am going out of my way to prove to myself that I am normal. I am not normal. I am healthy. I am not healthy. I am both and I am not both, like any woman, like any girl, like any person.

I look at my friend. I shrug my shoulders. He pats my back.

Then-

percussion!

Samuel Torres is playing!

He is an AWESOME jazz percussionist whose music is inspired by the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. WOW. One of my favorites.

We are moved. We are moved. And we are moved.

And now I am drunk.

I look at my friend.

“I must go now,” I say.

He nods. We leave. Felix drops him off at his hotel, and then shuttles me through the night lights to Brooklyn. I stumble up the steps, Debbie has gone earlier and taken my gear with her. I say good night.

And I dream.

I dream that my mother is driving me in a big van, my old touring van, only she cannot see anything anymore. She is driving us through the playground at my old elementary school. We are getting messages from friends in newspapers, they leap out of the newspapers to warn us of impending dangers. I sense that they are all living in fear and it is unduly affecting my mother’s ability to see. I take charge. My mother sits in back and I take over driving and take us to the sea. We are now driving on that highway that appears in my dreams, the lost space highway. We drive to the hospitals where I leave my mother to help heal the sick and wounded. The sick and wounded show me their hospital beds, Murphy beds that drop from the walls. I must go to the water now, I say, but I will return. I go to the water and there is a boy I had been dating and he is running after a bull, a great and giant bull, which is running into the high and treacherous waves of the ocean. The waves get higher and higher. The bull had been on a leash that this guy had been holding. But the bull runs out to sea and there are giant trees and jagged pieces of old ships that have broken apart and are being washed in to shore by the dangerous waves. A piece of jagged ship pierces the bull through the heart and a deep dark blood seeps up. I dive into the water, where, despite the night, I can see everything as if it were sunny inside the sea. I try to save the bull, to pull the ship from the heart of him, but he is dead. I return to shore, where this boy is crying.

And then I awake.

And I write this.