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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…

the wall



I am still unsure about how one foot follows another, about how there can be a roof over our head. There was that time when I was just treading water, chin at the surface as I measured the weeks until rent was due again. Then, the slow climb to a life lived with the minor comforts and I dared not look down, knowing the vertigo that waited for me if I did. The years unfold, little check marks on an invisible bedpost. My stomach still turns when I look too far backwards. They say nostalgia is a dangerous mirror, but I have no sweet longing for those lost years. I simply cannot turn my head.

The days are full now. I know what happens, but I don't take account of things until my head hits the pillow. There is so much to do, and I still feel like I am just scratching the surface somehow still treading water - a different water at least.  There are needs and wants and headaches upon headaches. There are rushed wishes, and long waits for replies. Living here, we feel unknown and forgotten half of the time. Out of sight, out of mind. But maybe the whole world has evolved to that, and we are in good company. The face in the mirror is mine still, that I know. It stares back at me, sad and quiet.

The kids break me out of these moments. V is on the verge of words, her face a mixture of recognition and thought, lips pursed and ideas bubbling to the surface. She is all about taking your hand and dragging you from room to room of the apartment, pointing "aaah!" and then "ahhh!". Some secret often makes her want to laugh, and she fights it for a moment, which of course makes it even funnier. And E is taping band names to her bedroom door, now closed. She is obsessed with music and which album is better the first one or the third one and "Can I buy this EP?" is her first question on most days.

I imagine cracks forming in some giant wall. It is smooth and white, almost shiny. The cracks are there under the surface. I can hear them if I rest one of my ears there.

Maybe something big is coming.




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