Not Here, Not Now


Nude woman crawling on waves, towards stars, with light pouring in through head.

 

I wrote this song while living in Brooklyn, when my mind was beginning to decompose from endless periods of solitude… first a year living off the highway in Santa Fe and then- I don’t know how long- living in the scary filth of Brooklyn, cut off not just from other humans, but also from the natural world since it took hours of expensive transportation to escape the urban grid.

My one connection point with nature was an abandoned lot that contained a metal rod sticking out of the ground. If I stood on the rod, I could see what appeared to be a creek in the distance, although it may have been a drain.

In Brooklyn, I started doing strange things I would never have done before, like buying tabloid magazines and reading them from cover to cover, eagerly devouring every story about celebrity weight gain and two-timing ex-boyfriends. And I would read them while polishing off family sized bags of Combos in flavors I used to hate, like Pepperoni Pizza Pretzel.

You might think someone with a lot of time on their hands and the freedom to do as they wish would make the most of it, taking up all sorts of new hobbies and interests. But instead I found that, in the absence of friends, money, nature, love, and beauty, it was difficult to be interested in anything at all. The only books I could bring myself to read were books about magic. I was especially interested in spells for invisibility, and would rarely leave the apartment without trying out one spell or the other. My favorite was to hold a crystal pointing downwards and imagine myself being swallowed up by the earth. I also began dressing for invisibility, and really constructing my whole personality around being as inconspicuous as possible. Because when people DID notice me, it was not a good thing.

Once I was walking down the street, when out of a window an invisible voice shouted “You’re ugly! You’re ugly! Hey you in the orange shoes- You look ugly!!” It was mortifying and he kept shouting it over and over again until he finally yelled “You’re not ugly, but your shoes are! They don’t match your skirt! Don’t wear those shoes with that skirt!”

Another time, a group of twenty or so kids who had just gotten off the school bus started throwing glass bottles at me. Equal to my fear of the bottles was my confusion and humiliation when none of the other adults did anything to stand up for me. I don’t know if this is because I was the only white person, or if New York is just a culture where everyone minds their own business regardless of what is going on around them.

It seemed commonplace for people to talk about me as though I wasn’t there. Once, two girls a couple feet away from me had this conversation: “Oh my god, she looks like a ghost!” “That’s what white people look like! Haven’t you seen a white person before?” “No, look! She looks like a real ghost! Like a white sheet!”

Download MP3: Not Here Not Now

Telemachus’ Realization

 

Painting of statues and cathedral. Man with sword and dagger.

Another song from the Odyssey… Telemachus visits Menelaus who treats him like a king- far different from the way his mother’s suitors treat him (in fact they are planning to murder him on his trip home).

I remember playing this song in Nashville at “Coffeehouse Survivor”. Two musicians would play a song, a panel of three judges would score them, and the winner would go on to compete in the next round. I didn’t want to participate in something so savage and degrading, but since it was my philosophy to say yes to everything, I went anyway.

Treating art as something that can be scored and judged like that is… well, it is beyond ridiculous in my opinion, and harmful to everyone involved. It is like ranking people’s souls. Not to mention that art frequently deals with perspectives that are new, while judgments tend to stem from the values of days gone by.

But at any rate, I played this song in the first round, and lost by a landslide to a man in a cowboy hat. One judge even gave me a zero. Ouch.

Download MP3: Telemachus’ Realization

 

Run Rabbit Run

 

Painting of nude man with fortune telling rabbit. Checkerboard grass and pink cloud.Another song from the Odyssey… Odysseus’s encounter with the witch Circe… in the background you may be able to hear the snow plows & I really wish I could run away from New England at the moment… it is not the snow or the coldness that bothers me but the fact that they last forever. Two short months of spring/summer and then the struggle to survive starts all again. Plus, there is the lack of sunlight, which has the positive effect of making the thoughts and judgments of other people seem far away, but the negative effect of making your spirit feel like it is gasping for breath.

The prevailing philosophy on how to handle winter here is “Don’t fight it, embrace it.” When I press people for details, they generally recommend skiing. Which is a costly embrace. I think waging an all out war on winter may be a better idea for me, though I haven’t decided how to go about it just yet. If money were no object, I would buy hundreds of lamps and keep them turned on all day long, turn up the heat to 80 degrees, and fill a humidifier with the scent of ylang-ylangs and grapefruits, so I could live in a sunny and moist paradise.

As it stands, my best winter survival tips are tons of vitamin D and long car rides to ward off the dreaded cabin fever.

Download MP3: Run Rabbit Run

Star of Telemachus


Painting of flame orange girl with blue eyes.

One of the last Odyssey songs… I was so enamored with fire at the time, that I would sometimes light up to 100 candles in a single room of my house. The air would get all hot and swirly and it felt like sitting in an oven. In addition, I was addicted to the fiery stimulation of performing. I couldn’t go one day without it, and if I had to, I would find some kind of trouble to get into to make up for it. Soon after writing this, I decided to move to Las Vegas so I could be free from the dampening, depressing effects of water once and for all.

But, in this song, are already the first cracks of doubt that fire is really the answer to everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Star of Telemachus

Sacrifice to the Gods

 

Downtown Nashville Night Skyline 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another song from the Odyssey, featuring the two elements that weighed most heavily on my mind at the time- fire and water. Water was, in my mind, the root of all evil, so it seemed fitting that Odysseus’ exile was spent wandering and lost in a watery hell. And fire was, to me, the most wonderful element, so it seemed fitting that the offerings the Greeks made to their gods were offerings of fire.

Living in Nashville, I saw the big black bat building that towered over the downtown as being emblematic of the element water, splashing its black liquid over everyone to extinguish the light of their individuality, and turning us all into slaves and clones.

 

Download MP3: Sacrifice to the Gods

Wild Wild Seas

 

Painting of mystery animal made of colored dots

Another song from the Odyssey… Odysseus washes up naked on a foreign shore after barely escaping Calypso’s island where he has spent seven years crying for his wife (while working nights as a sex slave). Poor Odysseus! Why did life have to be so challenging for such a nice and clever guy?

 

One thing I like about the Odyssey is Odysseus’ constant fluctuation from king and hero to helpless beggar. Even his appearance fluctuates from that of an oily muscle-bound god to a shriveled, smelly weakling. In a world where people are treated so differently based on wealth and status, it reminds us to be careful, because you never know who may be a god in disguise or a king in distress.

 

 

 

Download MP3: Wild Wild Seas