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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…

Heaven is a place (where nothing ever happens)


There are days, wet and dark when the sun never comes out. The leaves are falling in silence. I am out in the street, hands shoved into warm pockets as the lights behind the windows glow from inside old apartments. The drapes are pulled closed, offering no glimpse of a kitchen table covered in plastic, no teapot, no steam, no plate of cookies. Fancy cars gun their engines on these twisted back streets. All at one once a throaty roar as they rush off to nowhere. Old men and women pull little carts on squeaky wheels, a plaid flap bouncing on top, inside a bag of potatoes, a package of herring, a tube of mayonnaise, maybe a small bottle of vodka.

Sometimes, the quiet feels suffocating. Sometimes it feels rare. Nothing happens here beyond a store closing, another taking its place. Maybe a market is selling wild honey. Maybe a tree falls down. Maybe the water will go up to our ankles for a day before it runs into the forest.

I hear the news of another shooting, this time in a small Texas town. I can imagine it is similar, that hushed little village. A place where you know the person that brings the mail, and who sells the milk. A place you might feel safe, because nothing happens there. Until it does.




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