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

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