Taking Time to Drift the Everglades in my Brain

Even old things need some attention from time to time. The old goose-neck iMac is still good for recording music and checking messages when the teenager is monopolizing the fleeter first floor PC. I revisited the iTunes (despite lack of portable music player) to see what the status of the 5.6 days and 9.32 Gigabytes of music was. Oy! So many duplicates, and this library is so swollen, like some lazy cat on a sunny window sill (where the food bowl resides). So I
elect to de-dupe and de-dupe, and then it’s midnight on Friday, and then I’m renaming song files that have cryptic names — the result of illicit pier to pier file sharing (what fun that was!).

And so I start sampling titles that I don’t recognize…

mouth of the river

Mouth of the River. Transfer Drawing

I climb inside some headphones to keep the speakers quiet. In here it’s like instant 1971 — cloistered in a messy bedroom with a cork-screw cable connecting me to a life support machine, the yellow and red lights blinking, the mauve walls and smudgy windows reflected in the wobbling surface of vinyl, needle gobbling the grooves, feeding my gray matter. bringing on sleep to a psychadelic night. In the phones the tracks race left and right and center, voices layered like sardines, clear of the usual house sounds that confuse the purity of the artist.

So I start correcting artist info, album names, titles, and renaming my own tracks that I recorded during stretches of un and under-employment. Garageband conglomerations. Loudon Wainwright covers. Unsolicited theme music for an Arkansas situation comedy. Tributes to Patricia Ann Reed Evans. Things get a little fuzzy and unclear… I get a little lost as I paddle around the cypress trees of this dream… was she really there, behind the tall grasses and dappled sun rays, naming the flowers, like a bird, eating the flax seeds, rambling on as the room emptied?

Here are some tracks, apparently recorded digitally direct from someone’s scratchy vinyl, of the obscure rock artist Terry Reid, who’s reedy voice would’ve given Robert Plant a run for his money (and so legend has it that he was in line to audition for the as yet not established super group Led Zeppelin). Here he sings Season of the Witch and July and Rich Kid Blues:

Been having bad times…I’m paying dues
got shoes and money, good times too
Always play to win…always seem to lose.
that’s why I think I got the Rich Kid Blues
that’s why I think I got the Rich Kid Blues

The dim light of a party den, a garage attic, appears yellow and smokey and beer moistened before me, the memory of that voice on a flip-out record player seeps into my brain, crackling – the young faces of my youth floating about like tiny vessels on a placid lake, the projectionist’s light slowly fading.


A Beer at the Boat Landing. Transfer Drawing

Then, like the ball in a pinball machine, I riccochet into the new millenium. This program elects to organize alphabetically. And so after Stevie Wonder and Strawberry Alarm Clock, here comes Sufjan Stevens, pitching his life-saver over the oily black surface of my river of memory, pulling me back in, and the faces of my children replace the lost friends of high school:

I fell in love again
all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago
all things know, all things know
we sold our clothes to the state
I don’t mind, I don’t mind
I made a lot of mistakes
in my mind, in my mind

you came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go

Where is that odd sensation that the light of day and the sound of music used to incite in my body? Was it the newness of it all, the first time-ness, that caused the shiver, the receptors not being so used to it so that it felt new every time… or have the chemicals and receiving points become dulled a bit, needing more, like the needle junkies’ dilema? Or is it the quandry of being adults in an adult world, where pondering potential is too often, dictated by media, replaced by the demand to pay attention to adequate health benefits, correct percentage of income going to retirement accounts, contributions to college funds, interest payments on personal debts, membership in the religion of your choice, where my body will end up…


A Gathering at Sunset. Transfer Drawing

I mount my bike at 5 PM for the 6 mile ride home. In the west, the sky blazes with orange – the kind of orange that makes you think of something not real. A wide and deep orange, flared out across a mackerel sky, the kind of orange that makes you want to ride fast for open spaces, so you can capture it and press it against the tired chambers of your brain, challenge them to remember… or at least to wake up a bit. Around a turn, streetlights blur into white streaks, cars and trains clatter and grind, unlit pedestrians appear like gray ghosts in my headlight, and stop and go lights chatter ‘the walk sign is on to cross Atwood.” Over the capital dome, the orange becomes a low smear, dirty bronze, and then, barely a fringe on the graying cloud bank. Soon it’s just a curious memory, and then these words, still… unwritten. My tires crackle maple leaves along the darkened path. A rabbit races to my right. A man walks by, his dog’s head festooned with a red blinky. Soon my mind, lost in a new stream, considers the Friday night schedule ahead, the weekend tasks, the things I haven’t done, the guilt I bear for those that I neglect, and the retirement moneys I’ll never invest.

It’s time to get to work… it’s time to get the images down on paper, to weather proof the picnic table, to slow time to a crawl again.


Arrival. Transfer Drawing


One response to “Taking Time to Drift the Everglades in my Brain

  1. aahhhhh… so good that you are writing again… or maybe you’ve been writing for awhile. So what I mean is that it’s so good to READ your writing again. Thanks for sharing.

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