Dear Dave… (or Darling Fascist Bully Boy…)

Hello. We lost a Good Man, My Friends. I was crafting this personal history of Dave and I to present to him when he was feeling better. Something so he was fully sure of the impact he had on my life and the life of the countless others he called ‘Brother’. It’s personal, full up on references earned over a 35 year friendship.

Hello Cap’n.  

These days have had me reflecting on the past, the meat of what mattered and how I got here. And as I gaze back at what would be my most full moments, you were there, stage right, holding it down, joyous, celebratory, a quick grin between us when the harmonies hit just right and the song sails. This brings me back to the very beginning. Verillis garage.

This is where we met. And I remember it all, the state of the clutter, the too small space   the blue aria pro, Vic smashing shit like a Muppet, the irrepressible Verilli acting every inch of his eventual occupation (not the drug store, the LA Hair Metaler) , you focused and concise…and so fucking young. I was too but I don’t see me here. I see you. Fuck you looked 15 but played like 50. I still remember the swells of Remember Tomorrow, the barnstorming of Tyrant. I remember the feel of really doing it, really singing into that mike, barking, and all my dogs barking with me. And Mrs Verilli. A true cartoon dragon of there ever was one, we, hard teens, metal heads, drinkers, druggers fuckers all hiding silently and wide eyed when she got home.

We were the classic 80’s movie that we did not know would be classic…cause it was the 80’s. We fought the popular kids with their poofy hair and van halen set. All the girls went dewy at the very site of Drew and the boys. And we brought pure fire. Pure anger. Purity. These are not our songs but you motherfuckers are going  to hear them anyway. Loud. Fuck you all.

And I flash forward a year, a year of beginnings, a year of you blowing my mind in Scots basement with every new song you learned the night before. Yes songs. BOC songs. It was really intimidating.

You have always been like that, or appeared that way. Focused. Cocksure. Correct. I’m sure you had doubts. I’m sure you had fears. But they never crossed your face or spun up your voice, in song or in jest.

One year later, one year of basement playing, one year of focus to do what we always wanted to do: not simply ROCK but rock with songs these people should know. The UFO set. Rock Bottom, the room would fall away and its you and that solo… Let It Roll. Only You Could Rock Me (Rock Me). We won that night.

Afterward I remember Wizards Lament….my first official song and how everyone came together and started adding their parts. And I remember it all falling apart. You hooked up with Scot, we became a cover band, I started the Basement Apes with Fetcho.

And this was the part where you became my nemesis. It’s a place of honor. While we wiled away our mornings and late evenings writing, recording, The Rafter Bats ascended. I think it would be a little late in the game to say I was coooool with that. I was jealous, plain and simple. You created something that had not been created yet, much less mass produced and genrefied. You were the first Bluegrass Rock and Roll band and it drove me mad.

I will always remember the moment I heard you on WPKN, the whole band playing some live tunes on a Saturday morning. And it sounded amazing…groundbreaking. And I called you at the station. I was out on the air with you. And captured the most uncomfortable 5 minutes of radio in existence. I’m counting the Hinderberg, by the way. I said ‘Hey!; and heard grumbles and very guarded responses from you and Dennis. It was hilarious. Soon after I caught your act in Greenfield Hill in Fairfield, that farmers market and we were in communication again.

Thing is….I drew such inspiration…such pride,..that you liked what I did. It wasn’t simply anyone liked it…it was you. And I knew you were no bullshit so your not going to bother aligning with me if you did not believe in what I was doing., And that made me press farther, push harder. And when I shared the tapes of what I had been doing, The Great Upsetters came to life.

It’s a mystery to me why that band did not go farther, and this time it was not from lack of trying. But fuck man…the times we had. The Post Office bar in Bridgeport with the undertaker bartender (Tins sister, if I remember) and the hookers and the crack addict. And this was one of those moments that meant the world to me. That empty bar, half the band tripping on acid, the other half hopelessly drunk, and when we kicked into Like A Rolling Stone…a song I don’t believe we ever played before and barely knew the words between the 5 of us….and when we started that, that 5 person draw sang like a crowd of 1000’s. Everyone screamed every word.

I don’t know if we got paid that night. I don’t know anything about that night except for that moment and the raw feelin of being fucking alive and sharing something with folks who wanted it.

And somehow we feel into the Ticketmaster National Showcase. Christ, remember that set? I bet you could still play it without much encouragement. We had it down to a super tight 38 minutes. What was it…10 songs? With the intro and outro of The Great Upsetters, the funky darkness of Something Missing, the sweet harmony of Whose Really Where. I was always proud at how we worked. We jammed hard but were never a jam band. We were focused to serve the song, that was the endgoal, and that was what we did.

The one moment you missed from that night was me changing for our set at the Holiday Inn and coming down the elevator, Phil Mogg walked in. I was in my fucking stage gear. I had to say something. And I did. En quote ‘ omg, Your Phil Mogg, your my hero and my band of UFO worshipers is just about to play a set for a national contest across the street and your band is the reason’….I said it likely faster than that with my eyes likely spinning around like a googly doll. He was polite, amused, and thanked me and wished us well.

Then onto the show. Another of these moments that I look back on and you were there right next to me. We killed it. A perfect set. Girls screaming like the fucking Beatles. Magic. Just the wrong decade. 5 years later our 70’;s worship would have been hip again. Right outfit, wrong year.

Hopi Fest. This was not something amazing musically…it just showed what an original bunch of crazy crackers we were. We stormed that stage long past anyone wanting to hear it. But we did not care. This was The Upsetters…and by definition anything the Upsetters wanted to do they did.

And the end of the Upsetters. I broke up bands for the same reason I am writing from a day job today versus my yacht…fear of success. I know it was me. I would start to think all artisty and start thing of something that would fulfill me. 

I did not know then these memories would hold and hold me to answer for. I did not expect to live this long.

And I made my solo record with the invaluable help of more Hogan stock, Bill Becker. I got to know Bill pretty well during the GU year in his role of…well everything. And he was a killer bass player and partner for me. I miss him right now, even as I write this. He was a good man without any of that icky goodness that corrupts good men and makes them dull. 

While Graylight Campfire ascended. Prick.

I remember a gig DayDrug did with Graylight (which I don’t think I dreamed…but who knows?) and introducing you as my friend was a point of pride. By that point, we were not simply friends. My family has not been as much family as you have. I know that sounds strange. I do not make a lot of friends. Its not a plan, a design, just a circumstance of being self obsessed.

But you are my friend. You are beyond that. We became brothers on this trip. 

You have a lot of brothers, Dave, A lot of people who believe in you. Enough people who admire you. You are a beloved commodity. You inspire such…reverence when your name comes up. You think Im being fancy, but I assure you are not. It’s a shame we never really know our standing till standing is no longer an option. 

This month….. I looked at what I have accomplished in my life as an artist…and I had some successes…and you were there beside me, holding it down, holding us up, bringing that unmistakable but astral tone in your sound, in your very soul.

A lot of people love you, Dave. Admire and love. You need to know that. I don’t think we ever get this explained to us when we need it, so consider me Professor X:  Nothing is the same after you. You are legendary and that will grow with everyone who ever knew you.

Then Grimm. I stand by the fact that my favorite period of GG was the trio. You and Me and CC…meeting imitation Bill Clintons, playing the always drama packed Swan gigs, the video for Nothing Astral…your PART on Nothing Astral still one of my faves off the cuff Hoganisms…… recording up in  Storrs with Dennis along, Fuck….. Graylight / GG set at Ideat Village which…Wow…….

I mean…we created a form of rock and roll, something that was compact but fully loaded, 3 people, 2 with instruments. And a set of songs honed down and fine tuned.

Then Lys. Seeing you two sing those Gram songs was….incredible. You too added something into them that the countless covers missed…maybe it was a true love, maybe it was revelry….. but I felt like I had a hand in something good by putting you two in the same room. I know she thinks the same thing. I always picture us in that horrible sounding space museum…. And the Daffodil Fest, with you and Lys on the remarkable non rainy Daffy day. The 2 Boots shows.

On that point….the picture. The picture taken at Café Nine of just you and me on stage. Of when you were doing an early acoustic set and I cam down. A Friday I believe. How when I saw you…and you saw me….every wrinkle of the past had faded, every sharp left turn evens out….. and it was meeting an old friend and it took that moment for me to really recognize the trip you and I had been on. We were older men then…older still now…but we just grined at each other with a look like ‘well that was a time, eh”…and played the Upsetters songs, near perfect.

Cause our harmonies……was something beyond talent or skill…there is an understanding on how our instruments bend and warp around each other. That’s history in action. Its beauty in repose.

Anyway…the GG machine rolled on, now with you in place for the Big Fame record and shows. Yes, I regret not having you on Dizzy. Yes, I regret not having you on every track. But the shws…the radio play, culminating in the big time times 2: playing for the Tom Tom Club and WPKN Sunday Brunch. 

I still laugh when I think about you at McLevy hall, being wholly UNIMPRESSED by the literal Rock stars watching. It impressed me and CC and I were always good for a star fucking. And GG was gone. Poof.

Onto me beginning of this phase of my life (while Graylight ascended…did I say prick? I did? Cool) which started with Zen. Not in a literal sense…I was insane at the time. But you were there too. You were there with the necessary rock and roll Dave/J back up on Last Days Of Rome….the real picture of how talented experimental you were on the ebow shit which really made those tracks.

But what I recall best is the radio show. Me coming on to introduce Zen on your WPKN show. Still on my soundcloud as I listen to it from time to time. Not to hear me, monitor my performance. To hear Us.

It is a conversation shared publicly of you and me just talking shit, not sharing secrets that we both know. There is a love in this conversation and this interview sits upon things I am proud of. Cause we were brothers, separated by bold, by circumstance, miles, poverty. Our dreams glimmered gold while our wallets got lost. 2 men coming from the same war, and an easy acceptance of what we have been dealt. 

Now…not so easy. Cause this is not fair. This is not right anymore. I could listen to that conversation forever. It is friends. Veterans of the same psychic wars. One still more practical than the other. My madness tethered by your cool. An amazing team. A perfect match.

Except my art made me want to try everything on the plate while your steady hand held the rutter and kept you focused on the horizon where everything glimmered like a future coming.

I am an eccentric and you are a working man.

But it is not fair, make no mistake.

I did it. I wrote that record. The Mott one. The one where you get to be in the sainted seat of music director…some singing….real rock and roll shit. Its about everything I out down here. The trials and tribulations of limonene dreams.

I wrote it with the clear image of some future stage where your standing stage right and leading the band through the songs…you have a smile on your face…it looks like peace.

Dear Dave… (or Darling Fascist Bully Boy…)

A Life Lived Loving UFO Documentaries

So when it gets to be nighttime, post evenin’ activities (of course), while others count endless amounts of barnyard animals, you will find me staring, open mouthed, maybe drooling just a bit (like Rock Stars do) watching and endless supply of UFO documentaries. The specifics are irrelevant. It is always this guy saw that and that Government said its that. And no body believes anyone. And for reasons unknown, this endless babble equate to the sound of pan flutes and gentle rain on my consciousness and I drift away into a dreamless sleep.

I think it has something to do with my wiring. I think listening to other people work out impossible problems while tucked away under a blanket is my version of Meditation. It comes with certain rhythms, certain symmetry of repeating phrases (Conspiracy, Hopkinsville, Area 51, Wright….. Conspiracy, Hopkinsville, Area 52, Wright…. I can barely type this without falling into a bliss rut)

Let me say this clearly: I believe in UFO’s (and not mainly cause I am a stoner…but…) and if you do not, you need to make the math work. If you can convince me that everything from Ancient Aliens to Best UFO’s Ever Caught On Tape (yes, that was the 80’s one.) is just one big grift, I welcome this.

Life is a mess of expected outcomes. You are born and (in the best case) you grow old. What mystifies you as a child now hangs from your rear view mirror. Bright and shiny things to catch your eye and let the World outside ran around uncaught. We are lacking mysteries these days. We are too smart and far to dumb to do anything other than plunder every dark corner with information, obligation to set everything in a the proper light.

I like the sound of rain. I love the sound of our chimes ringing on the porch. I enjoy the ageless whistle of the train. But to put me into that real rest driven mood, I need endless white people spouting pseudo science. Not UFO specific….any ole’ clap trap will do.

I love theorists. Not theory so much as the people who put the time in to make these ideas bubble above the surface of their minds. Like the Ancient Aliens trick of saying ‘Ancient Alien theorists believe….’…which lends type of gravity to whatever they are saying…but a theorist is someone with an idea. You are a theorists. I am too. I have theories on UFO’s. And lunch. Cats. How to achieve that dead eyed look while living the Life of Reilly.

We are all defectives….wait……detectives…..and this World is our gritty city to bring into focus. Its our city to learn, to believe, to disbelieve the residents. We are allowed to create mystery where the World wrings them out, one by one.

It takes a special type of human gall to reason out the lack of Bigfeet running around is based on the idea that they are inter dimensional creatures.

Its takes a village to deny a village ever existed on the floor of the sea.

It takes a networks worth of pseudo science to put this boy to sleep.

A Life Lived Loving UFO Documentaries

Testing 1…2….Testing 1…2

Happy New Year, ya filthy bustards (it’s a type of bird and now I have taught you something).

I am a simple machine. I am the definition of sanity in so much as I do the same things over and over and make them fly.

Did I get that right? No, I did not.

So here we are at the precipice of what started this blog in the first place. If you are not aware what that means, start at the first Blog and wit till you get here.

I’ll wait. Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo. Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo.

(Sing along at home! the words are Dooo Do Doo Doo Duh Dooooo Duh Doo…..)

Done? Sweet.

So here I am home recording a record. A theme record. Even a concept record though the concept is loose and filled with holes. So theme.

As you can recall from just rereading every Blog I produced (you did, right? Right?? RIGHT????) that this Blog came about to take my mind off of making a record. It was a heavy record for me, emotionally, not sonically.

And when I did what people of my ilk do (record a heartbreak record and hide for three years), it was satisfying. A good record too. I’m proud of it. I had one goal for that record: I wanted someone to hear it and understand the wild weeds of how I really felt, I wanted to help someone, to let someone know that they were not alone. And I did get that.

And I should have made the goal mansions and brand new cars. Live and learn.

And then I sunk into the luxury of living a good life. I’m dumb but quite happy. She makes my planet spin and also plays a mean piano.

I always felt my own misery was my muse. I feel like I found myself in situations which would make me miserable and then all the good words flow out. It works too.

At what point though do you need to drive that particular muse to a bus stop and let them go? (See.. that is JpK fun cause a lot of that record was written on busses. I’m so fun. Look it at me. I’m fun.)

Fun.

Anyway…. Right, New Years Misery. Got it.

And by reading this you recognize that this whole process starts again. I did not create this blog as a marketing tool. Though should have. Its medicine.

And here we go again. New record that I have been sitting on has started recording, and again in a similar format to the last: obsession and excess headphone equalizing.

And when I follow myself up that path up my own bum, I will come here and complain, cajole, or worship.

Come on along.

Testing 1…2….Testing 1…2

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 10

Such a strange morning. Another day heavy with grey clouds, the full breasted blush of Autumn now stick figures stretching into the void .  Sipping hot coffee to still the shudders. I feel off planet, an alien hologram of myself. I cannot shake it.

 I have no recall of writing that sentence last night.

Wrapped in an assembly of weather warm fabrics, the chill was bearable. I busied myself with a running list of the things I would buy when the money comes. I must have passed out during the travel section as I remember the image of blue water and black sand. Then nothingness.

I heard music.  A melody. Repeating and beating louder between my ears. I assumed in my sleep I hit something on my phone.  My phone was off and still resting on the seat. I knew it wasn’t the radio as the keys sat next to the phone. And a assembly of melodies converged in my head, growing impatient.

I tried to focus but it was all surreal. There was something familiar within it. Eventually I recognized was that all the melodies, converging, crossing, swelling, were all sung in my voice. Falsetto and low gravel, every instrument was my instrument. My voice doing things I could never imagine.

Then oblivion. And I woke up in my car.

__________________________________________________________________

Is a caterpillar aware of what it is becoming, the wings it will grow, the colors it will bring?  Is a bug aware of what it will become right before it hits the windshield?

For better or far worse, change comes to every creature on the planet.

Which is as reasonable a way to describe the last two days.

The melody. It slithers in the back of my head until I sleep, and then it struts. Incessant. With a strong hook.  A good beat you can dance too.

When I awoke with the melody beaming in my brain, I was compelled to grab my guitar and make something out of it. It was intimidating. Like being given a live check for millions but having a fake ID.

I found my way to a friend’s house who was sweet enough to let me shower and get myself together. Being flush with real indoors and genuine heat, I put myself on the couch, broke out my pad, my pen and my digital recorder. And started to play.

It was the strangest feeling. My fingers worked their way around the tune and added swerves and curves. It wasn’t  conscious. The less I thought about it, the more I noticed that I was playing guitar in a way I have never been able to play.

I hack at my guitar, beat it into submission while screaming out my precious words. This was different. A near genius level of altering and repeating the notes , repetition, repetition, repetition.  Hypnotic notes flowed from my guitar while I barely considered where this skill came from.

It was said that Robert Johnson disappeared that day on the Crossroads only to appear a few years later with an ability to play that shocked folks who knew him. Some said it was the work of The Devil. Some said it was the work of hard and focused learning.  I had not practiced in weeks.

I was not thinking this at the time. I was not thinking at all.

I felt myself breathing, lungs inhale and exhale. I felt the weight of the guitar on my knee, the scent of candles burned down days ago. Everything within my physical body became acute. Detailed. I felt the sun shine on my back, the deafening drip of a faucet somewhere.

My fingers worked and my voice worked with it. The more I played, the more distant I became from playing. It was instinct. It was flexing  knowledge I never learned.

It was a gift.

ROBERT JOHNSON (1911-1938). American blues musician. Dime store photo from the 1930s.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 10

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 9

Dusk comes to the crossroads. A decided chill in the air as we press through November, and not having the finance to run the heater, I am layered in most of the clothes I brought.

Such a strange place. I feel invisible here. I expected that some local cop would eventually pull up and check my purpose. I thought that the folks who travel this route would be gawking at me, wondering what exactly I was up too. I have not seen a single person even look in my direction. It is solitude. And it should not be.

Things like this make me wonder. Is it this place, so often driven that it becomes automatic reflex to focus on the road? Is it my purpose here that allows a spectral anonymity?

It is a strange feeling to be in a wilderness while being about a 8 minute ride from a WalMart.

_______________________________________________________________________

Beyond the half way point of November and no signs of progress. No nightly visitors, no pens of flame or blood. Just waiting causing me to question whether this is my residency in Hell. If that is the case I could do worse.

It is sunny today. Most of the leaves have left. The lovely burnished red of the foliage replaced daily with naked branch and blue sky blooming. The grass going from summer green to earthen tones.

I know the rhythms of the seasons. I have lived here all my life. This land of Devils.

That is not said as an opinion. New England born and raised.And always driving distance to some place with ‘Devil’ or ‘Hell’ in the title. As far as I recall, this was Puritan lands back in the beginning, and anything that was considered unusual was named unnatural. And a place where mysteries let loose. Devils were always about according to the Puritans. And names such as Devils Den, Devils Hopyard, Satans Kingdom, Hell Hole were given to the places that pricked at the cosmological conscience were warned away from. 

The country, the USA, started on this side (meaning East)and so the oldest and more arcane history comes from here. It gets in your blood here, the dirty ground of real history. It redeems your daylight and electric candles as weapons against the cold Yankee nights.

There is blood in the ground here. Older blood sunk deeper into the soil. We have attached to our homeland witch hunts and Native American massacres, famous murder and forgetful grounds. As a kid, I ate this up. The book I would always own was the collection of Yankee Magazine Myths and Legends. There are vampires in Jewett City, mysterious ‘BOOMS’ out of Moodus, bodies buried beneath New Haven Green, the Melon heads stalk Dracula Drive in Yourtown, USA. Every part of the country reflects its age in its fears, whether it is roving gangs of homicidal hippies in the California hills or dead shot long dead gunslingers in the west.

Here, our history is longer and fears more traditional, rooted in mystical depths. And that brings us to Hell.

We use the tools we have available to review any threat. In these modern days, mysteries are knocked down with regularity. Science tracks the phenomena, action and reaction and creates a hypothesis. The concept gets debated, back and forth, sometimes for centuries.

Without the science, we are left with faith. What someone wants to believe, someone will believe. If you believe your suffering will allow you a better view in Heaven,you cannot be dissuaded. If someone avoids the simple carnal pleasures for fear of dropping down into Hell, you will not be convinced. Even using plain science, where facts are not negotiable, people will see what they want to in the results and base their opinions on this flawed logic. And will not be unconvinced.

The Northeaster woods crawl with witches and boil with entrances to the abyss. The shore speaks of ghosts of pirates and haunted lighthouses. The cities whisper with murders and long held grudges coming to boil. We are cold people, in a cold place. As cold as the stones that sit in our multitude of cemeteries. As cold as the bodies that lay beneath.

 And we will not be unconvinced.

—————————————————————————————————-

Cloudy night with a glow of the Moon distant. Deeper shadows round the crossroads tonight.

What will it be like when I am rich and famous? What will it be like knowing what waits when I eventually flame out completely. Is having nothing an audition for losing everything?

_____________________________________________________________

I have a song in my head. It shook me from a dead sleep. That has never happened before.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 9

30 Days At The Crossroads Part 8

The benefit of being wholly alone has it’s upsides. The ridiculous things you do are shared privately and there is no Greek Chorus warming up in the pit.

Someone who was aware of what I was doing out here, what I wanted and what I was prepared to pay, was perhaps a loss. I live so much in my own head that I doubt if someone offered advice, I would even be able to make sense of the sentence.  My inner dialog has gone native

The positive is that when you do something embarrassing, you can get up the next day no worse for wear. That last night, recalled here, was embarrassing. A bad dream mixed with random nature had me running like a kid though a graveyard. The first sign of something scary had me sleeping in the swampy green light of a Target. Bad form.

I had long thoughts about what I would do next that morning, after the morning sun shook the night off. I had no place else to go. Death or Glory, right?

What if Death was not Death at all, but a quick blip before you wake up elsewhere? I did not believe in Heaven even a bit. I did not believe our good deeds were calculated and fed through a formula that decide the resting place of your soul. I absolutely believed in Hell.

It is a contradiction. I l know that. I have never been able to apply a working logic to it. I believe life is fundamentally bad. And as workers of these dirt driven fields, we turn bad right along with it. There is joy in moments and these times need keep us steely against another bad spin of fortune.

Life is not fair, but it was never advertised as such.

I drank coffee until I started to feel whole again. I knew I would go back to the crossroads that night. And every night following. Because I had nothing else.

___________________________________________________________________

When I returned in the bright 3 o’clock sunlight, I felt foolish all over again. This was practically the fucking suburbs. This was not Mississippi and the only thing haunting these fields was me. I settled in, slid my seat back and waited.

As noted, waiting is my sport. I was made for this, though I kept on having thoughts creeping into my head about whether waiting was enough.

Sacrifice was the word that kept coming in unannounced. Tap, tap, tapping.

What if there was missing text in the accumulated legends?What if every single person who successfully made this pact brought something to show how serious they were? What if a bird was simply an offering? I pondered this as the sun slid away and night came to the crossroads.

11/14/18__________________________________________________________________________

As  I got older, my writing changed. It was almost a return to my 9 year old form. It was confessional where before it was clever. This wasn’t  a decision. I came to recognize that the writing was therapy. It was my nurse and it was my weapon. And I needed both in those days.

I cannot chart the exact age that my ego eclipsed my sweeter nature. I think it was a byproduct of living so deeply in my own head, I made a kingdom in there. And to the king go the spoils.

It came with a small measure of success, getting recognized,getting heard, my songs at last touch the radio airwaves. I took it too far, as was my nature.

I started to become cooler, not only in attitude but in empathy. And since my esteem couldn’t balance the small size of the aforementioned success, I started crafting a new persona. Less geeky chat(which is me) and more cool long looks. It was cheap but it was effective. I attracted attention. And the attention I craved wasn’t press or prestige. It was women.

And I became callous. To the king go the spoils. Even the most spoiled ones.

The songs became my rationalization for every deed and misdeed done. If I wanted a heartbreak song, I went out and got my heart broke.If I needed a redemption song, I found someone silly enough to redeem me and out it to paper. I did not write love songs . Too revealing.

I stepped out using the patter of a stranger, a sick ego and clever tongue. It goes a long way in the world.

I felt a darkness. Within. And I liked it. My songs became the E Ticket reason for everything I did to myself. And to others. Every unhealthy habit was a grand tradition in the life of an artist. I drank deeply.

No friends ever mentioned the change in me. No one longed for the better version of me. I was more successful with this character I decided to become than all the love lorn years leading up to it. And so I pressed on.

I hurt people. For the songs. I pushed the edges of decent behavior. For the songs. I dine out on fabricated stories of my life as a rogue. And songs came from that too.

I felt myself draining away from the world leaving my imposter to take my place. And he flourished.

It was not like the 80’s style comeback story movies I grew up on. The record was played, and played again all over the country. I received sweet words and sales were not great. The time spent working to the lower middle took its toll on everyone involved. And it was gone.

No one was asking what I would do next. No one missed what I brought to the banquet.

People went the way of the World and spun away. I did not take it personally. I was barely a person at that point.

That was not long ago now.  It lead me right to this dirty cross of blacktop.

30 Days At The Crossroads Part 8

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 7

Saturday Night and I just got paid. Not accurate, but still a heady line. I will not see folding money again till this is over. I have been thrifty banking on the gas I use each day to get here versus 30 days. If it takes that long. And if it doesn’t, I simply don’t know.

My landscape is changing around me ushering in the cold, dead season ahead. The leaves that reached over my parking spot, which glowed dying fire as the chlorophyll blanched out are now skeletal limbs that shimmer and crack. The dead leaves carpet the roots of the tree where my black bird friend watched after me. The grass is slowing down and going brown.

I have not had any further astral visitors. I am no longer sure if I expect any. I am zealous. 20 days to go.

_____________________________________________________________________

Fuck.  I have never been so afraid in my life.

_____________________________________________________________________

The sun is coming up over the Target parking lot. Another gray day in a series. And I am still shivering badly.

I knew I was going to spend the night at the crossroads. I gathered whatever winter wear I had remaining. November gets cold at night and I could not afford to use my heat.

I sat in layers and listened.  Wind teased the highest branches and flicked rain on my windshield. It was peaceful.  This was my home, my native land. There was not a whip snap of a branch or cry of an animal new to me.  I lived round hear all my life.

I had a dream, which itself was peculiar. I do not dream. I have not dreamed in years.

I was in a hotel room, but not the type I have stayed in much. As opposed to the modern version of lodging with its single serve coffee maker and fire exit maps on the door, this was clearly an older style hotel, something akin to city life. The windows were open and I heard sounds of life being lived many down below. Car brakes and horns, industrial sounds of steam and distant voices.

I was fully dressed, the lights on, the windows open. Big band music churned out of a radio on the bedside table, adding to the time out of time feeling. And beneath , the sound of running water. I looked around the room and saw a door with light leaking from below. Small shadows of movement buzz in the refracted light.

I stared at the door.  Nervous. I had no reason to be nervous. It was palpable within.

I heard a sigh, decidedly feminine behind the door. Then the lights went out beneath the door. And the sound, all those city sounds, went dead in a blink. The only sound was of the Big Band music slowly devolving into static and scratch.

I sat frozen in place as the lights in the room shut off. And the bathroom door opens.

What was strange, even within the dream, was that the windows that were letting the sound in, seemingly open and brimming with life, were pure black spaces now.There was no light at all.

‘tap…..tap….tap’

My breath caught in my throat. I was terrified. ‘tap….tap….tap’. It was distinct and it was getting closer. ‘tap….tap…tap’. I could not move a muscle.It was blackness and increasing tension. True mortal fear. I felt as alone as I ever had in life.

‘tap…tap…tap.’

I could not see it. I did not want t see it. I crushed my palms to my eyes.

My eyes opened and I was at the crossroads, in the driver’s seat. The dream spun away from me. It felt like it was evaporating all around me. I started to calm down,relief like a physical rush.

‘tap…tap…tap’.

On the passenger side window, on the back windshield. ‘tap…tap…tap’

Light scratching sounds on the roof. ‘tap…tap…tap’ Though I could not see anything, I knew what it was.

My brain was a block of ice. Pure Instinct started the car and floored it, fishtailing wildly away from the crossroads.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 7