30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 6

I felt a prickling on my skin like electrical charges right as it happened. It was a flicker but a flicker that seemed to last far past flickering. And looked upon the biggest black bird I had ever seen perch 15 feet away.

I felt uneasy. It was not the proximity. It was the focus. The bird perched and turned to me and froze. Black eyes focused. Not on the car, but on me. I could not forget that static charge that hit me in the moment. It felt…significant.

Was this it? Did ‘it’ even exist? Am I slowly losing my shit, as has been mentioned?

It sat still. Still as ancient things. It reminded me of a woodcut found in one of those dusty library books I favored about omens and monsters of yore. And it stared. Not that the car, not into the field looking for dinner. Stock still staring directly at me. Into me.

It made me uncomfortable. I had to consider if I was letting my nerves get the best of me. Then was struck with the single thought ‘What did you expect?’.

Was this an overture? Was there a step I needed to learn in this dance? The bird sat mute and frozen; no guidance would come from that direction. Should I approach? Was this the invitation?

My car and pulled away slowly. It’s eyes followed me as far as I can see.

I took comfort that night in a dear friends flesh and a lot of liquor. It was gone the next morning when I returned.

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I am used to waiting. I have a long habit of always arriving early, so waiting became a skill. I note the same ruts on the road, the same jeep tracks, heading off road that I have gazed at for days, which kicks my mind into questioning ‘where were they going? Did they get there? The same road trash that comes and go with the wind. The same shade from the same trees, now less shady with the leaves coming down. I sit and I collect my thoughts and I print them here, for reasons still unknown.

I wait and I wonder. What happens if I am successful? Would I suddenly have the secret song in my pocket that will allow my ascension? Will the chords come together naturally, or perhaps unnatural? Would  I receive a letter that says ‘Congrats Kid. Your gonna be a Starrrrr.?

Or would I simply disappear, not being legal or bright enough to know the full extent of the contract?

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And so my life as a performer began. Not in klieg lights and limousines, but in late night gigs at dingy bars playing the white trash American Songbook. It would not last long. As a writer, I wanted to make hits, not play the hits. So I started to learn the guitar and picked up a 4 Track Cassette Recorder.

If I can chart the specifics of when I became a day trader in this life, when I began a lifelong preoccupation with profane ways to call ordinary actions, or the necessary extra syllable that would make that chorus bulletproof, this was that day.

I knew the accepted way to become a figure in that early 90’s music business economy:  start local, work local, build a following,make a record, get radio, perhaps a video, get press, get fans….repeat until you’re driving sold gold Cadillac’s. There is a simplicity to that metric,makes creative thought and the sharing of it into a Wikipedia page of how to farm.

I could not go that route, always thinking of myself as the creative engineer of better mousetraps.

How correct I was can likely be summarized in where I write this from. A beat up car on a beat up road, seeking higher guidance from lower associations. Desperation was a concept until I got desperate.

I started to let go of the world. I started to forget what was required of me to be a well thought, likable adult. I started to obsess on the ways I would flaunt my wealth and success among those many who did not believe in me. Belief is a drug and that and no one was selling it. I daydreamed conversations with the magazine clippings I kept as friends. The advice they would offer, and what I would offer back.

The ‘Myself’that brought me to the party seemed to leave with someone else, and what I had left was the Myth. I was pleased.

While others planned a future, I plotted a course for International stardom on my own terms.I remember the sloganeering that became my reasoning: This is all I can do. I cannot fix cars, cannot do math, can barely spell, much less punctuate. It is Death or Glory.

That was years ago now. Death keeps coming into the foreground. Day by day. Glory is still ethereal.

I worked at jobs, always considered ‘Joe Jobs’ to me, cause my work was what I did after hours. Honestly, I have no clue how I was hired at all. I did not have the resume, but I think my inner workings of global domination gave the outer appearance of confident. My ‘Devil May Care’ attitude and decent diction hid the lack of care I truly owned.  Every job I had was a static place held together by what my next move was artistically.

I hid it well. At some jobs.

I allowed myself any number of behaviors I would never have suggested to anyone else. My particular version of ‘Death or Glory’ did not invite passengers. I was a wide ranging experiment on the power of self involvement and ego. I was the subject and I did the research. I excused this self lechery and leering by reminding myself that what I was doing was aiming higher than most.

I was willing to bet it all. I did bet it all. I never even got the see the wheel spin.

Are these thoughts insane? I ask you as I have no one left to ask. Whoever you may be and however you will come across this confession / transcript. Does everyone consider themselves a God of their own world? Is that a bad thing? I was told something in passing that I keep as armor: There is no such thing as a false sense of well being. If you feel well,you are well.

My logic was flawed. And I would do it all again the same way.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 6

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 5

And while other kids were picking up the guitar and drums, I picked up the pen.

My songwriting habits solidified as I opened up to new sounds. My heroes were always the singers, as I was naïve enough to believe that s they sang the words, they wrote the words.

I grew my internal world by moving beyond the sad boy songs into something more gothic and suggestive. I wrote horror movie scripts with kickin’ choruses. I wrote in cheap rock and roll clichés, practically the traditional folk of white suburban boys.

So when a gang of friends started to take it more seriously , they needed a singer, I said ‘I’m a singer.’

To me, singing was always an act of courage more than a skill. Considering the quality of voice that littered modern music, not everyone who sings should sing. The goal was to get them into writing original compositions as I had pads of material ready to go.

Off to the practice room, like our fathers and forefathers before us. 

My first live gig was a personal revelation. I was fat, morbidly so. As wide as anyone was tall. Decked out in denim vest with patches and spikes, we played a Battle of The Bands against kids far more popular than we were. That suited us. We were filled with rage. We played covers from obscure bands no one ever heard of.  Every other band had at least one Van Halen cover.

Impossible to say whether we were good or bad but we were assuredly loud and ugly. So we lost. Of course. This isn’t a movie.

Right after the cool kids were crowned, I stood back a grimy sweaty massive mess. A girl approached me. Maybe the first.

And time slowed as she intentionally walked toward me. She was a vision. Thin, blonde, smiling at me…looking at me. Everything dropped to a slow motion crawl as I noted the stage lights glinting off her silver choker…

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Something is happening. I think something is happening.

I was lost in the tapping of half recovered memory when I saw a black shadow cross my hood.

30 Days At The Crossroads – Part 5

30 Days at The Crossroads – Part 4

I slept in my car last night. That wasn’t the plan. I am not sure if there is a plan. Is there a process to offering up your eternal self for worldly gain? Is there a registry I should have signed onto? In blood? Is that what Linked In actually is?

I park and I wait. In lieu of soundtrack and chatter, it is just the tapping of this phone. The phone doesn’t ring, the message indicator doesn’t blink.  When I say I do not know what I am doing here, that question needs be answered in tiers.

Is this a fanciful suicide note?  What am I trying to say by walking back through these drug mangled memories? Is my story a ‘teachable moment’?

It is habitual this creating to keep a order. I am parked and watching the world spin at the apex of these two roads. Chosen not by providence but by convenience. If the will is willing and the flesh is leaning into it, does that trip the Devils red line?

Worse still…I am an atheist. Though clearly not zealous on the subject. I do not believe there is anything beyond this earthen tomb. We born, we pass, we food for worms. Until the going gets rough. Then I am praying to God for luck and banging on the Devils door for validation.

Cause that is what this is about. Validation. I won’t let my life go unacknowledged. That has grown from a notion into a threat.

Going to Hell for eternity is awesome…as long as you do not believe in Hell. What if I misjudged?

The negative would be that I wasted sometime, changed my life, cut down the safety nets and need to figure out what is next. And keep figuring that out until I reach a natural ending.

The positive is I would rise. Rise above this body, my peers, tempt the clouds with my sheer freedom and conquer this world as it’s equal. Admiration and throngs of well wishers. Poverty properly banished forever more.

Then Damnation. Eternal.

Or worse yet….nothing.

30 Days at The Crossroads – Part 4

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 – Part 3

My worlds met and married on a Sunday evening when I was about 13 courtesy of the King Biscuit Flour hour and the FM radio band.

Consider where I came from: comic books and horror. Literature, of a type. At least literate. This was what occupied my head until that night.  I was a fan of music, as I had brothers and sisters and cool cousins who would treat it like a religion.

My sisters brought me Deep Purple and Black Sabbath when I would crawl around the carpet and just stare at the covers. My cool cousin brought me to Yes. My extended family brought about Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have forgiven them. Jackson 5 was on the radio and then a heavy dose of AM radio classics as my parents were a bit older than everyone else’s.

A record that had a big impact is a record I despise, to this very minute. Terry Jacks ‘Seasons in The Sun’ was proof of evil in a blissful world. I would weep like a smaller child every single time it came on. Just that opening vocal melody would make my face scrunch up like I was slamming lemon juice.

Though painful to listen to, and deliberating to me little kid ego who could not keep it together at all, that record showed me that songs can hurt.

The first record I ever wanted was the 45 of ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. My brother wanted ‘Golden Years’ by Bowie. Our Dad bought us both in the same day. Those two record were seeds to a burgeoning personal revolution. The grit of Thin Lizzy matched with the suave alien Pop sound of Bowie had an effect I would not recognize for years.

I stumbled from books on Parapsychology into comic books. Obsessive on the things I loved, this is all I did. It was natural, trading mysteries on outdated and rained upon books for full color magic pages. And superheroes were the extension of what I wanted to be. Having super powers looks pretty prime when you’re a kid where you are generally powerless.

All these influences, all these mixed media muses lay dormant in me as I continued the business of growing up.  Until that night.

Sunday night , 8 PM, and school the next day.  I settled in my room and turned on the radio. It was a rite as my brothers and sisters before me had. I think it was the talk more than the music for me as I was raised on AM talk and police scanner chatter. The sound of distant voices and noises was always soothing to me.  I have lived within listening distance to 95 most of my childhood.

When people want peace, they aim for silence. For me, the opposite is true.

A big voice came on the radio heralding the ‘King Biscuit Flour Hour with BLACK AND BLUE!!!’ (the exclamation points came through the speaker like an aural typeface). I faced the speaker like the DJ was going to bounce through it.

What came next was screaming. A horror flick soundtrack played over massive cabinets . Massive bell ringing. Then the guitar. It was ‘War Pigs’. And it changed me.

I spent the remainder of that 13th year in my room, eschewing the outside as I bought and played out every Black Sabbath record. I had friends who thought I evaporated. My room went from full color Marvel art to black and red. I started sporting Satanic gear everywhere I could.

It felt right.I felt like I belonged to something. Heavy Metal was my religion. I sold my entire comic collection for an Alice Cooper ticket in the city.

I do regret that.

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 – Part 3

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 Part 2

To say I came here without expectations would be false. I have big expectations.
To say I came here without thinking it through…. that I am not so sure about.

I do not believe in an afterlife. And yet I come to this road and I wait. I come every day. Every day.

I have left my job. It kept me away from this place. Where I need to be. I need to shake some shit up, in an astral sense. Poverty does not scare me. We are old friends.

I am afraid. Terrified. Afraid of what will happen when he comes. Afraid of what will happen if he doesn’t.

11/3/18_______________________________________________________________________
It started with books, long days at the local library gaining knowledge on a number of subjects pretty to my dark mind: ghosts, New England lore, multitudes of ‘Phone Calls From The Dead’ and other 60’s paperback parapsychology propaganda, horror movies and Colonial history. The information I needed was learned though legend and cheap literature. And that knowledge did little except give me a reputation for being the fat, weird kid. Or so I thought.
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Sitting here, alone in this deteriorating auto, acoustic in the back, crushed cigarette kicking up, I wonder if this was why it was important. Was this date fated?

Even asking that sets me in place as myth. I am not myth. Yet.
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Words worked within me. Not the paperbacks I studied or books of legends I stole. It was words sung out loud. The meaning behind the act of saying anything to anyone a all.

After Kara came Shannon. After Shannon, Michelle. After Michelle, Krystal. Into infinity. And each had a song written for them, a pledge contained in every line and my heart woven throughout the lyric. They were not songs proper as I was not handy with an instrument. They were verse / chorus love letters no one would never hear or see.

It was the creating of worlds with unknown outcomes. It was creating characters, even in simple sketches of syllables. It was my license to become a Gentleman. It was all the brave words I never spoke, all the proclamations I kept private. I went from drawing Spiderman on my notebook cover to capturing phrases overheard or misunderstood.

An act of Zen recording these simple rhyme patterns on a lined sheet of paper, my printing block, my pen unsmudged. I recognize this for what it is now. Control. Sanity. But I was 10, so Sanity was an over reaching abstract.

The concept of chorus, where you distill the lyric and kick in something punchy, something melodic or a slogan, was burned in my brain from living in a culture that valued such acts of market driven trickery. Not that I minded. I felt writing a good chorus was comparable to winning a sports competition, except after your done running, hopping, playing, scrimmaging, all you have is a memory.

I have 4 lines that can define you. Call the unnamed conspirator on their pride, labor, spit. Raise or dash them. And they will live on forever. This is my power, what I was given. I made myths.

I still believe that too. And this is where it led. This shadowy clash of flat top roads and the suitable scent of sulfur.

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30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/3/18 Part 2

30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/1/18 (Part 1)

11/1/18 – All Souls Day

In my dreams, I am a shiny constellation. Bright and too far away. A distant collection of sparks that can be admired, used, worshiped. Untouchable but present 24/7. I was here before cars. before radio, before fish and fowl. I will be here when all these things cease to be.

In my walking life, I am the same. Except proximity lays me low. Overburdened by oxygen, the inner dialog will never end. I am not admired; I’m am obscured by brighter planets. At times, I feel colder the space that holds the shiny stuff in place.

And I go supernova. I fall apart spectacularly. I clog the cosmos with confused moans.

And then get to work. Not the true work. Not the work that needs be done. I get to the building that contain this corporal self 5 days out of 7.

And proximity lays me low again. I am not a collection of flickers sailors will sing too. I am not a twinkly necklace hung on the throat of an astronomer.

I leave the tapping of fingers on tiny keyboards. I leave the beat of sex and cliché of history.

I am a tiny god. Lowercase.

I have a consciousness that will outlive all of the above. And a plan.

How weighty is the offer of a soul? How does it feel to burn eternally. versus the burning internally of my every day?

And what are the mechanics of such an offer?

I do not know. I am a traditionalist. So it starts with a cross roads.
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This did not start today, this started thousands of years ago. This did not start today, this started when I was 9. This started with a girl, of course.

It was Kara. Proper pronoun would be ‘She was Kara’ but that would dwarf the significance of what she was. ‘She’ would be easier to paint in a picture, capture her stray handwriting on a sheet of lined paper. ‘She’ would prop into place a certain reality attached to the ground.

I never lived on the ground. I was either deep under or soaring high above. And Kara was my Sun. A destination that gave me bearing and ultimately burned me to cinder.

I liked Kara, you see. It was 3rd grade. I was too fat, too smart, too romantic, even then.

She was the first of many girls I fell for, ached for her voice, all while be expert in making sure she never knew I existed. Billy Bragg captured it in one line ‘In the end it took me a dictionary to find out the meaning of unrequited…’. It was something I excelled at.

I could never say what it was that turned my attention so turned to specific girls. There was no logic or type. Small, large, sweet, angry. Pretty or plain. The only thing they had in common was they wholly owned my heart. For a while.

More mystifying, looking back without the benefit of being 9 is what I expected, in a perfect moment, when one of these deities said ‘Yes’.

I wanted to be someone’s boyfriend. I wanted to be recognized as lovable. I had no concept of what that meant.

It would simple to say I was growing from a boy to a man, but that’s not accurate. I had no concept of what the end goal was. Despite the terrifying men’s magazines I had access to (thanks to older boy relatives), I had no clue how slot A lines up with tab B. Or tab B works with Tab A. Or Tab A into Slot C (much favored in the men’s magazines). Or what the point of any of it.

I knew I wanted to bring flowers and sweep ladies off their feet. I wanted to be the hero in every sweet fable, always knowing the right thing to offer and no the right time for restraint. It was the books I was reading, even then,. the movies I grew up on. It was the comics I was addicted too. And a deep personal need to be The Gentleman.

I wanted to swash buckles and swing in on ropes. I couldn’t even climb the ropes at gym at my weight but I was lithe in my head. I was lighter than air. I was Fred Astaire in flight.

I was tortured. Kara spun my world and I could only hang on. Her hair was true gold (OK, dirty blonde). Her skin was cloud cream. Her eyes sparkled blue, just like mine. She was my reason for being and she sat right next to me in home room.
She never knew any of this.

It was a walk home after school, brilliant sun under changing leaves, all alone that I had inspiration take. The First Muse speaks.

‘This girl I know
I really really love her so
And I just don’t know the way I can let her know
How much I love her
This girl I know.’

The simple melody that left me without cover. Scribbles on torn notebook paper that I could no longer dodge.

Followed by (in the full band arrangement of my mind) the main riff to ‘Live And Let Die’, oddly. A Gentleman’s tune is one ever existed. So British it conquered half the World only to be regurgitated by cartoon rock boys.

That was when I came to recognize the power of the pencil. Eventually pen, then typewriter, keyboard to Smartphone. It was not that I recognized that I was a genius. I knew no one would ever hear that song. It was how it made me feel.

Unburdened. Free. From myself.
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30 Days At The Crossroads – 11/1/18 (Part 1)

Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

Profane ideas and anarchy
The atmosphere slips from static to rabid
Spotlights spin and kill the battery
Bodies in the basement, heads in the attic
Seduce with cruelty, destroy with flattery
Amping up the electrical addict
Cigarette City, Celebrity nudity
with every cheap exchange shot cinematic

Bad weather, good natured
Green means stop, red means floor it
Watching the watchmen and tablature
Fight it, Fuck it, Ignore It
Social scavenger, local massacre
Ramming speed, four on the floor it
Breaking down the unnatural ambassador
If you can’t join it, deplore it

No regrets but no one forgets
Your ass is a star but your still on the dole
No regrets but no one forgets
You sold your soul without a loop hole
No regrets but no one forgets
You bought in for a bigger role
No regrets but no one forgets
No regrets but no one forgets

Sex and state and God and fury
Fear and truth the line is blurry
Peace and love and fascist fashions
Click Bait For A Grateful Nation

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Click Bait For A Grateful Nation