Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When the spirit comes



There is a time when a blogger runs out of gas, is gasping for air. So he writes about things around the house. Things he's read. Things he'd seen on TV.

I must admit I am tired of Public Television and their money grubbing sales pitches about long-dead albums and songs, but I must say I kind of like Tavis Smiley's show. It is somehow funky and here and there, there is certainly soul, and even insight.
Take occasional guest Sonny Rollins, legendary jazz saxman.
He talks not of soul but of spirit.
All the grand dead guys around him, long vanished. He said that's spirit. They are dead but still in your memories. This somehow makes them still relevant to you, somehow still alive.

I am not yet near Sonny Rollins' eighty years, but I think I know of what he speaks.
Pockets of memories. Pockets of people, most of them dead. You can still hear them, some playing guitars, others on typewriters spilling out their insights and writing to you.
Spirit.
Memories of a dead town. The one-and -a-half clapboard White Rose filling station building still there, even the old pumps out front, long disused and rust- patinaed. There are aging Manitoba maples all around. They grew around the pumps at about the time you had had your heyday in literature and music. They somehow invoke memories.
Memories of old friends, the way they used to look when young, dissolving into windy marionettes. Ghosts.

Yet, says Sonny Rollins to Tavis Smiley,
"To me, they're still alive,making me so glad I had been in their company. I call it spirit. "

Spirit indeed, as I think of all the dead or dying friends in the vinyards of music and journalism.

Myself, I had the privilege of walking, playing, writing alogside with some greats. And wasn't that grand?

And I fear one day I myself will be someone's windy ghostly marionette.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fire and rain and James Taylor



Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to

--James Taylor.


Well, it wasn't quite like that, but separation makes you quite unable to do ordinary things, and my penny dreadnought for the local papers that I had composed
became lost in the "sent items" space in my email. In fact, I have quite forgotten what I had written, and now on this full moon, it hardly seems to matter any more. Success shy? Not willing to take another chance? Who knows. Comes to Funk and Wagnalls, lately, all seems funk.
Damn. Depression is hard on the system...And even worse when you had somehow stupidly lost all your money and there are no more palliatives to be had, drugs or pills. On must face ones awful self. Sort of sit there like Jack Horner and wait for companions, for rescue. And they do come, at the strangest times. Rainy Day People.
One dropped by last night with money and cigarettes. He asked if I was out of booze, and stupidly I said no. I still had two cans of high octane beer, which I knew from experience makes short work of depression...But I could have had more! Separation. Your timing is off. Feel kinda vulnerable. Dare not go out on a full moon...Probably why I gave up politics. Had to time my campaigns on a new moon or sabotage myself. I swear it's a Canadian thing. Choke on the podium.

There had been a time when an ambitious type could fight his way up a mountain an onto the plain, annihilating all opposition. But that was when young. I run today the risk of penning the bitter exhaustions of an old man.
But I don't really feel that old. The young hotties still pause to see if I notice. There apper to be meaningful hints. That, or it's all in my head. You are dead, Ted.

"Sweet dreams and flying machines
And pieces on the ground."

It is not hard to see that James Taylor, young or olds is a serious artist.
I wrote in to get the chord symbols and the tablature. It's all there for you, supplied by the master himself.

Well, over here, I think I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
But the sense of late of being a patched-up airplane.

Oh, if only I could see her again..