Friday, May 27, 2011

Songs About Songs

Poets writing poems about writing poetry.

Sometimes the process swallows up everything around it, and then there is only the process. Days drift by unnoticed. Goals arise, are sliced open, hastily performed, forgotten. Somehow the need to get up and go to work, to put something down on the page, becomes more urgent than the job itself. What if you just didn’t show up? Where do you trip the wire of consequence? What is the bottom line to survival? Is there anywhere you have to be?

Everyone needs to tell their story. Sometimes when you start to tell it back, you can only talk about the telling. It might be time to wake up in the woods then, and find your way home.

Birds sing in the middle of the night here and I can see stars from my bed. In the morning, the shade from the wall keeps the concrete cool in the back yard. I have a routine suddenly, where I stand with that first cup of coffee and see if I can find the observatory in the distance. Today I recognized the sensation of a summer morning, a thread of cool air trembling in the heat. People have climbed to the top of the hill across the way. Below it is an empty college campus. Graduation came and went. It’s quiet now - just joggers and kids from the neighborhood. I’m living in a dining room with curtains separating it from the kitchen. I keep the sliding glass door open to the patio all day.

A couple years ago I reached the point where I was writing songs about my life as a musician. That was the case, because being a musician was my entire life. I had a lot of pain to exorcise, a lot of appreciation to express. You’ll hear. Then everything shifted. A part of me got ripped out, and I’ve been filling it in with something else. I didn’t know how to relate it as it went by, or if it was important to do so. It was mostly happening internally. Now I’m not sure I care much about being anything. What I do know is that I’m getting home. Getting to a new home. I can feel it coming - and it is not a song about writing songs.