Written in 2011, on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
“Fuck Yoga,” my partner was saying, “you should take up boxing.”
We were on the long slink into Texas from Louisiana. Crossing the gulf coast underneath godheads of clouds that rained on us as we passed.
“Something where you can hit someone, and get hit.”
I was wound tight but it wasn’t the traffic. It wasn’t from my third cup of gas station coffee either.
“Just sit back,” I told him and eased the stereo up to 10.
Suddenly the rain broke and the road wound long to the horizon. A good sign. I rolled the windows down. My partner fell asleep without another word.
The close quarters of a black 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe were enough to make us buggy, rolling down the windows or reaching for the stereo, a set of earphones or a piece of gum. Any way to create some space. My partner slept for a lot of the drive. Most in fact, which was ok, and much better than unsolicited advice about my “short fuse” or spartan road diet of sliced apples and bread and cheese from Starbucks. It wasn’t all bad and in fact was mostly good. We had a good run and he offered encouragement with his criticisms, especially after my set at Siberia on Saturday.
The gist of it is that in twenty years of booking bands, Bernard can spot talent and according to him I’ve got it. As much as I’ve heard that over twenty years of performing, his words sank in, really got in there. It was undeniable and I heard him. He also offered that maybe the dayjob shouldn’t be anything but. When I told him my plans of riding my caregiving gig as long as I could he said it was a mistake. I heard him, too. This blog ain’t about him though. At least not specifically.
This post is about a life devoted to the creation of Art. An attempt to disabuse myself of fearful notions that have only kept me doleful and caged. I took the safe route. Perhaps. I still made Art. In Yoga this morning I realized that everything I think is just that-what I think. This is some powerful medicine, Brothers&Sisters, and between the kind words of my tour partner and the self-realization afforded one on the Yogic path, I can see out. I ain’t so scared anymore. So, then- what am I waiting for?
I don’t know. But my laziness knows no bounds. There’s been a lot of fucking about since we pulled off LaTex Road last Monday. I started back working full-time, which ain’t easy. I’ve submitted some work and attempted to book some. But much like when I was smoking and boozing and knew I was not living authentically-I know now that I’m not at 100%. The details of it are shameful. I don’t know why you’d want to read about it, but you do, and for this I am forever thankful.
Philly is the last to be booked on my east coast mini-tour. Perhaps that’s how it should be but I’ve known about these dates since May- when I pushed back my usual June shows to September, and added Boston and NYC. Some shit fell through. Mostly unforeseen but now I know. Also, I don’t need to be reminded that throughout my endeavors I will find a way to blame myself, to prove that I’m not good enough or worry about screwing it up long enough to actually screw it up. Fly into Boston at twice the cost of a ticket quoted in May, without radio, without a local third act and without a place to stay. Not to mention without New York City booked at all. Some shit fell through. Other shit I worried myself into a fit over, while doing nothing but laying on my back and masturbating.
Shameful, I know. It’s fucking crazy being me. I don’t know what I’d do without you, good reader. I’m still kicking against it, the blues, insisting on this life and burning down the savage road I first stepped foot on over twenty years ago. I’m still fucking it up colossally too, making twenty year old mistakes. It’s as if I’m doing this for the first time, which, in a way, I am. Sober. Completely me. Raw. Nervous. Wanting a cigarette so bad I could cry, at times, but knowing that my pain would only stop there. It’s quite the ride Brothers&Sisters. I’m quaking in my boots. I’m nervous and raw and completely me. Still after it. Still alive. Still going for the throat.
There is no Buddha but the Buddha that you are. If you meet the Buddha on the road you haven’t understood what the Buddha is. It is none other than your original mind. The idea of seeing the Buddha as outside of your self is conceptual-as is “becoming enlightened.” One can not become enlightened because that would assume that you are gaining something that you don’t have. Your basic nature is enlightened, awake, free, non-dual. This is completely experiential and not conceptual. You have to kill the concept of Buddha both inside and out.
Does a bear shit in the woods? Does the Pope wear a funny hat? Is the government corrupt? Did your parents lie to you about what it was really like out here, in the wide world slaving the hours away for some shekels and a piece of bread, 4 walls and the game on Sunday? Yes, something is very wrong here and Mr.Jones ain’t the only one who don’t know what it is.
Another 4 days, another email sent. Christ. Had I started walking with the message it would’ve got there sooner than it did when I finally hit ‘Send’ this morning. Things I’m not up for are things that must be done. Unless I don’t mind the dayjob and am perfectly happy being a wage slave, locked in a gilded cage and living in a yellow mansion here in Babylon-Hippie Town-Austin Texas-the Velvet Rut of the world. This town is like a mirage but the livin’s easy, nowhere near as brutal as Hostile City but never as real either. It’s where the Californians come to die, tech babies and plutocrats live in gauche condos in the sky and the artists and Mexicans beat the heat in pools far east of any metropolitan action. Fuck. Sorry. I drank too much coffee and the jackhammers up the street seem to be boring into my skull.
Why anxiety? Dunno, good reader but after talking with pillar of strength and badass redheaded wicked witch of the North-none other than the lovely whipsmart Maureen Ferguson-this morning, I think it high time to up the ante. Time to book myself within an inch of my life, lest it take me days to send an email and too long to book a tour and I’ll find myself napping away what precious time I have left in my 40s to do this thing.
“This thing” is be an artist. Which, as discussed in blogs previous, is foregone-and right now looks like publishing 1 book a year at the IPRC and hitting the road every summer on the Gulf Coast junket and the East Coast in the Fall. It’s taking me too long to do things though. I feel retarded and unworthy.
Which as you know by now good reader, is only how I feel about it. The truth is I’ll have hit 6 of the 12 new cities I said I would’ve by the end of October. If I ever get back in front of the Great White machine I’ll have punched 6 submission deadlines to the pubs with flash fiction, essays and poems by the end of August. So, I am busy. And I don’t feel like I am. And rest never comes easy when you’ve got a chip on your shoulder and no college degree.
Be good to hit the ground running, in a Honda 2-door instructing Yoga and playing gigs until I can get out on the road again. Streamline the MAMU so that wherever I land will be a portable War Room and the fun doesn’t have to stop. Perhaps I should be grateful. I’m in good health and beside an enlarged prostate and being out of breath when I tie my shoes, I do get out of bed every morning. The words keep coming even though I’ve stopped offering libations and black hash smoke to the muse. I’ve no lovers in my life but no trouble either. When I look at the map of the Continental U.S. on the wall of the office I think I can do it. And when I reach out for help, I usually find I’m the most able-bodied and ready soldier in the room.
So what the fuck is wrong? Dunno, good reader. Dunno. One thing’s for sure though and that is it don’t take much to bring me around. I just hit the 679 mark on this post and it’s my 4th and last day off before I report back to the dayjob. Have I slain the dragon of anxiety? Hardly. But now I’m up on the mast again. Me and Ahab. Coursing the deep and ready to take another stab at nailing down the East Coast, compiling the new effort and booking the room.
Going for the Throat