Eyelids clenched tight
“You are not here if I don’t look”
The itch to peek
To ascertain if there is need
Hope monsters flee
Replaced by gentle sun
Blessed by all warm love around me
Comes round. Think hard.
Take measure of my life
What has been done or left undone?
Charity matters most
Above all choices one can choose
When most challenged
Scrubs away at the dross
Which entombs the beauty within
(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2010/photo (c)cjarc/Grace Cathedral
A Poem by My Son, age 14.
Since before I could remember
He was there as I would slumber
My brother in the top bunk
And little me just under.
I always got in trouble
When with his things I would fumble
Much more interesting than mine
At times we two would tumble.
I tried not to annoy him
Although I had a system
Which very often backfired
We’d each become the victim.
My brother soon will leave here
A thought that used to bring me cheer
Alone in our room at last
Nobody else’s presence near.
But now that time will soon arrive
I wonder if I can survive
Falling asleep alone
Don’t tell- I think that I might cry.
They are coming. Yesterday, a few hours to remind us. Today it is still. But tomorrow, or soon, we will feel the static electricity and the unease that pervades the LA Basin as the tumult increases.
The vientos de Satán have made plans and are on the rise.
“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”
—Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind” (1938).
Something about these winds disturb me to a near psychotic feeling of the flight reaction. It’s all too creepy and unsettling; I have to leave LA whether I am there for business or pleasure.
With the winds come the fires. It’s a two-fer. We build out and up into areas in which the natural ecosystem requires fires for rejuvenation. Does this stop the sprawl? Will it ever?
A few months later, if the rains beat down heavily and we are recovering from a drought cycle, there will be mud to contend with. Houses slipping down from their perches atop hillsides exhausted from water lust, and unable to absorb it.
In both cases, people seem astounded. Why the fires? How can we build fire-resistant houses that can stay attached to the staggering views? Common sense says nature always wins. Stupid wins, too, and we never learn.
The winds arrive, and I rev my wheels for a long drive up Interstate 5 to my adopted city of cool breezes.
Instrumentalists look at the key signature before beginning to play a new piece. Being a typical singer in this regard, I look at the inclusive range of notes. Two considerations: the extreme- how low, how high, and the tessitura, the Italian word for “texture” – the place where most of the notes call home.
For me, the parallels of these matters to my current situation is telling. What are my limits, my breadth of tolerance? How do I live in my home when it is no longer where I belong? How do I find my way to a comfortable tessitura? And how do I find the strength and stamina to live those long, arching lines and difficult passage work, which fly naturally from my throat, yet not from my environment?
So I begin. Not to fret over the key, because I own the gift of relative pitch. Rather, to find that tessitura which will lead me forward into a new way of living.