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what I heard

I don't know if it's me or what but it seems like every time I go see patti she keeps on getting better and her band keeps on getting better and it all just seems more amazing every time, but whatever the reason this was the best show I've been to yet since she started performing again in 95 or whenever it was. the only thing wrong about the whole night was that I should not have had a big old cup of coffee before going to watch her play because I think her stamina is getting better or something: it was almost three hours before she let anyone leave.

well I could have excused myself to the restroom but since we were in the balcony which has rows of reserved seating and so I did not want to disturb anyone on my way out or back so I got a little, um, uncomfortable after a while.

but otherwise it was absolutely inspiring and transporting and all sorts of other things I can't quite figure out how to say.

so I wrote this:



it does not matter to me whether or not anyone else thinks it was a good idea or whether or not it was legal at the time or whether or not it might have killed me because what it did do was put life in the shining blade of light that only squeezes itself out from my synapses when coerced by some stronger force than I myself can synthesize. I don't remember where it came from this one time or why it was that no one could join me but I having nowhere to go with it took it up to a culdesac at the end of a new subdivision road the kind that went back into the trees before any had been felled for wood siding and before there was any room for houses or streetlights or curious windows. rather only asphalt labyrinths leading nowhere except deep into possum country so I in my yellow beetle drove around this one newly plotted and paved subdivision until no one was paying attention into a dead end pulled around with my back to the woods and turned off the headlights.

I waited. just for a little while to see if any curious police officers were following or wondering what I might be up to but in the thick summer night heat young kids in cars did all kinds of odd things like we used to drive around a corner in one particular road and park and then pick our way down the pine banks to a river that ran without any hurry through a collection of large flat wet stones and we would hop from one to the next trying not to spill our beer and after we had gotten a little ways downstream we would exit the river and sit at the edge of water and trees and out of pockets came the auxiliary beers or the bottle of screw-top wine and there we'd be for however long we felt like it and no one ever asked us what we were doing there sitting in the dark by the water so that we could listen to what it was trying to tell us about what it was one left home for.

after several minutes had passed in the dark with maybe a moon of some proportion or another for ambient light and no one seemed to notice I was there for whatever reason on came the interior light and I would carefully pour out a small dip of powder onto my drivers license as I had not thought or had the chance to procure a small piece of mirror or other glass surface but I did always carry a razor blade in those days as it was useful for any number of swipes at release whether in private or in common with one of the two people responsible for keeping me alive back then.

I waited. it was never clear how long it would take until it took.

it is interesting to me that we make our way across time and through certain places in the company of people who never will know us but without whom we would not have been able to continue on with anything. across the space of an acoustically puzzling auditorium the greeting comes: "hello." time turns raucously around and around until it is not clear to me whether the chair itself has sat there for years waiting for me or if I have sat for years in that one chair. the word wasn't "hello" then but on "hello" I hear what they say it is to hold something in common to communicate to stretch across a space that cannot be closed without killing the spark that flies from one side of it to the other. in my head I compose another letter that I will not write and will not send but it has to do with surviving long enough to hear this word now as it was uttered differently but to similar effect this voice from a time I have not yet figured out how to talk about it is still that raw in my memory.

sitting some elastic distance from the same stage where I had projected my own image until it was possible that I got to stand on some stage or another in some sort of position but right now I cannot decide which platform was supposed to be the one I would not leave behind all that is clear is that it seems now I must make clearer than I possibly can exactly what was going on at every moment and I do not even know what exactly it will do for any one of us if I succeed. only that it is necessary to gather up whatever power I might be able to scare up to speak right to the limit of what cannot be said because whatever passes for a spirit or a fate or a chance encounter with the shadow of the valley while out looking for something to keep one busy only asks that I do so and without threat but also without any apparent alternatives other than the one I have not taken again and again and again and again.

what I could not figure out what to say was that I could not find quite the right words to express a fairly complicated sense of gratitude for standing over there making noises consistently across time and space at a proximity just close enough for me to have heard you summon the scorned transfigured child of Cain and to feel myself respond as though somewhere some one of us still moved in response to the profane miracle of life on earth still listened to the voices of the gods of this world. how I had managed to keep the spirit and the flesh from parting forever long enough to hear you say it again thirty years after it was the saving phrase or the one I carried close enough to my beating heart that I managed not to sever a major vessel ever but only scratched the surface as though the right words from nowhere but that intervening distance between us kept my hand steady while I wrote the notes that were not meant for the survivors of suicide but for living eyes themselves to read and read back and forth across the orchestra pits that marked the constant variable between us.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
daisydumont
Oct. 21st, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
i think she'd understand that if she were to read it, and she'd be very moved.
eriktrips
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
thanks, vicki. when it comes down to it the two things I feel like I need to do before I die are publish a book and tell patti thank you. it may be that the best way to thank her is to publish a book. kind of neat the way that works out if it indeed works out.

Edited at 2008-10-22 04:10 am (UTC)
ridethegallows
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
What a good time for me to pop back onto LJ. Erik, I can't wait to own your books one day. This writing is stunningly beautiful, as always. I'm glad you had such a great experience at the concert.
eriktrips
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
I can't wait to have books out there one day! I have to get this one together soon. it's really not that far away, my having a manuscript, although like any life story it will never be finished.

thanks for reading. :)
expanding_x_man
Oct. 21st, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
You gotta get a book out buddy!!

You will. All these things take time (I should know)>
eriktrips
Oct. 22nd, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
it's getting closer. if I have to take a vow of poverty to do it I just might. in any case, it's on one of the front burners now. I have to pull together about a million fragments and stick them together somehow into a coherent whole. it's perspiration time but of course it's more fun to keep churning out vignettes!
zonkerb
Oct. 23rd, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Great illumination of your relationship to her. We were lucky, dare I say blessed, to have had her in our headlights at the right time. And you are one lucky sob to have gotten to see her perform again!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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