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the long way around

The living room is a forest of mic stands and cables. A cup of coffee, a large glass of water and a shallow shot of whiskey sit on the tiny white table. I alternate between them, making sure the guitar is in tune, trying to understand if the chair will creak when I lean my head back on the second chorus.  There is a hush in the room. I can hear my own heartbeat. The lyrics are printed out on a fresh piece of paper, large and thick so I can read them easily even though I sing with my eyes closed and will surely forget a handful of words no matter what I do.

The guitar sounds dry, perfect - even honest. I can play a simple D chord with a long strum, or the side of my thumb and it sounds so different. I record a few takes, barefoot in the bright room. I am going too fast in some parts, and my fingers are already sore from the chord changes.

And then all at once, I am thinking of a show I played in an old factory in Brooklyn, way back when I had just started writing songs almost twenty y…

Mexican blankets and clowns

By my fifth day in New York, the city felt like an old pair of jeans I had misplaced and then found in my luggage. Everything just fit. People smiled at me. Every lunch was a blue plate special. Old friends uncorked bottles and bottles of wine, whipped up late night macchiatos and tucked me into bed under Mexican blankets.

I slept the whole flight back, returning to a rainy Moscow afternoon with a suitcase full of toys. The city was oddly quiet.

Lost in time again, I surrendered to naps in the afternoon and spent my nights trying to fall back asleep. I felt like I had forgotten my travel clock in New York this time around.

On Sunday, I took E on a walk to рынок (the outside market) and recognized a famous clown in the street. Kuklachov, founder of the Moscow Cat Circus nodded kindly to me as I said hello. There is no kinder or gentler clown alive, as far as I am concerned. He finds stray cats, takes them in and teaches them to perform in his imaginative and charming little theater. He lives with something like forty cats in his apartment upstairs. The marquee is covered with portraits of them, with their names spelled in giant yellow letters. He also has a little dog – some kind of white terrier.

We bought triangle shaped pastries filled with lamb and onions. E likes to eat them in street with me, sitting on the curb like we are in some lost Chaplin film.

I really felt like I was in Moscow again.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
I am dying to see the Cat Circus!
brenda said…
why oh why have i never heard of the Cat Circus? and man, do I wish I were E. What a life she leads on these journeys, holding hands with her father.

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