January 6th – night driving

Wipers went swish swish when I bumped the lever reaching for the dial of the radio. 98.1 classical radio, Bukowski or the musician in me, desires to hear something more complicated or at least unique than the standard modern pop tune in heavy rotation through the other soulless channels. A toss up between the night jazz and the night classical. Sometimes I get sleepy. I’m out there for hours, retracing my routes, all cross hatched, tangled, like a children crayon-drawing on a map of Seattle. Sleepiness is confronting with music of my own decision. Plugged in AUX and only coming through the driver side speaker, yet I know the lyrics, they are important to me, and I can sing along and feel like I’m growing. This usually happens at 10 or so when the dark gets to my irises in a bad way, spectral light, dark shines, stars out there buried in clouds other than the sun, my god the sun! So at 10 these channels seem to switch into sleep mode and play generally the softest piano trickling streams or the jazz of elevators slinking into comatose. I take charge. I wipe the windshield again on accident. Turn the cold air on and aim the jets at my face and shiver. I used to shiver when you looked at me. Is it a cringe now? A shrug? I listened, from Tacoma to Bothell, to Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s newest album Slingshot to Heaven from Hello to a Wedding Song. This is subdued music at a level of high proficiency. Very sad, soft spoken Edward, sings sarcastically about love or space ships and tosses in abstract lines amid the exposure of the everyday in his other lyrics. “When you’re gone, I smoke more pot. I drink tap water and sleep on the couch, it’s nice.” and so on. Beautiful stuff, I think. Sad boiled down to a simple formula of soft picked melodies, breezy voices, and strange, naked, lyrics. I listened as the evergreens whizzed by in silhouette and thought about how little I know about the world, myself, my role in it. How I know the pain of isolation, of self-imposed isolation, the contradictions that follow the desire to be alone mixed in with the desire to be a part of a winning artistic community, with Basquiat New York free love, painting and jazz, or Hemingway café drinking bouts and bull fights, or some other era, earlier, meeting with Van Gogh at the asylum and giving him his medication, going on a road trip to Quebec with Hunter S. Thompson. Making them all meet together at your Gatsby mansion while you stare pensively out the window to the woods, brooding admirably, with the kind of consternation required of a white-suited man throwing a party in which he invited no personal acquaintances, yet the strangers make themselves at home and he doesn’t care because he is in love with suicide. To be at the radiant node of an arts explosion. To make a community of artists. An art house. This is the ideal. The basement is for music. Some bedrooms. The living room is a public space. No television. The kitchen is a mixology lab. The atrium is a makeshift art studio, overlooking the tree lined heaven of the arboretum. The closet bedroom space is to be occupied by a tentative poet. Master bedroom by a bass player and his lit theory girlfriend, everyone speaks a little French, and we can all create unhindered and have a miraculous output to share the world with.

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