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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…

not all seeds grow (please tell me, some precious things)


There was a seed planted six months ago, for today's post. I cannot say more than the fact that it never happened. Not all seeds grow. It was painful, as deep a wound as any. But then I took a walk with N and V and E. I pushed my children on swings. I ate something. I answered questions, and felt useful, needed. No hurt can linger in a house crammed so full with love.

The weekend was lost in catching up on sleep, on staring at trees bending hard in a cold, wet wind. It whistled and howled at the edges of the windows, and I wrapped myself tight in warm blankets. V took a liking to one of my hats, and paraded up and down the hallway with it cocked far back on her little head, or dangling from one hand as she dragged it across the floor. After everyone went to sleep I pulled the guitar to my knee, and found something there as I often do in tough moments. 

                    Don't know if I'm good or bad, 
                    just what you tell me.
                    She had a gift for taking things away
                    so please tell me, some precious things.
                    Like when I was a boy,
                    when I was the new kid.

I walk home with E on Sunday. It is raining and the sun is shining all at the same time, a classic stroke of irony that causes no one here to bat an eye. The news comes in, another shooting back home. The numbers grow, as the details filter in. 

We are sitting at the dinner table, a full seven hours later than Florida and New York. The story unfolds, as sad and pointless as ever. 

All pain is pain. All suffering is suffering.

How to sift through all of this? A child drops an ice cream cone and cries out. They know nothing of the news, of deaths far away, just immediate loss, and a question “why?’ or “why me?” or “why me, today?” 

There is no answer. 



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