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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…

where are the lovely strawberries


When I fell asleep as a boy, it was to a Pete Seeger record. I can still remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of it skipping, the needle rubbing against the center of the disc. There was something welcome about that sound, that habit, the repeat of the repeating. 

Now, I wake up to these long distance calls to home. Well, the news. The stories, the comments, the rhetoric, the bubble, the gif, the joke version, the annoyed version, the simple version, the reshared version. The story is on repeat. The grinder turns, the meat comes out, the sausage filled, shipped, sold, cooked, inhaled, shit out and then all over again. 

Last week, I saw more friends check out. More people left the conversation, the platform, the circus. It reminded me of the exodus of expats from Moscow four years ago. If you could get out, you did and never looked back. 

I built a gas station last week. A middle of the night story. A woman, alone. An old black car. A motorcycle swings past in the distance. I made all of this inside a piece of software. A story built from pictures, fleshed out with lights and shadow, a camera drifting and focusing. It all happened in a corner of the living room, while meat roasted in the oven, while the baby was on the playground with my wife, while E was in school. One lonely gas station, and it took days but when it was done I found it to be profoundly satisfying. I watched it, over and again. 

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