Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Full moon and empty arms

My personal nightmare is the stuff that bad poetry is made of.

I guess I am doing what all grieving people do – hunting through 10 ½ years’ worth of journals, archived emails, chat transcripts, tarot readings, and I Ching readings, trying to recall Paul’s presence to my mind and heart and spirit.

Reading between every line of those divinations looking for hints and precursors and trends and energy movements. Thrashing around wishing those chat transcripts were more like our conversations in person, because we didn’t talk in chat like we did in person. I don’t figure most people do.

I can remember a time in recent years when he and I were hanging out and I had just come back from the studio, or I was about to go into the studio, for the recording of my piece “Ultralite” for Not Made of Stone. The lyrics were very much on my mind and I quoted a line: “If I brought you a pen that was perfect, on your birthday, what would you write?”

“A love letter to you,” Paul replied earnestly.

I blushed and grinned foolishly at him, placed my hand over my heart and fluttered it to illustrate what was going on inside me at that moment.

I don’t belong in this reality, or any reality where Paul is not.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Orpheus of Civic Center BART

The mythology and lore of Orpheus is long, deep, and wide. He is a lot more than the greatest musician of elder times. But lately my daily travels in the "underworld" of BART have led me to think of him and his wife, Eurydice, and his quest to bring her back from the land of the dead.

In the tunnels leading up and out of the underworld at Civic Center BART I've encountered two street musicians recently who have brought me to tears. The first was a violinist playing "Norwegian Wood" by the Beatles, and the second a tenor sax player who played "Someone to Watch Over Me". The sax player saw me crying as I gave him a donation and he declared that he hadn't had a reaction like mine "down here" in a long time.

I said, "I wish your music could bring my man back to life."

I wondered if Tartarus could be found down in the bowels of the Transbay Tube. I wondered if the river Styx might be somewhere under the Bay, and if Charon might be a BART operator. Cerberus might be lurking on a hidden platform to prevent unauthorized passengers detraining.

I wondered if there were souls down there who might emerge, drawn by the artistry of street musicians in the BART stations. If I rode BART around the Bay Area long enough, might I find Paul peering in at a window of one of the trains? Could I charm Hades and Persephone into letting him go, with one of my poems or an improvisation on the bass flute? If I got him to follow me, could I lead him back to the land of the living, as long as I held fast to my faith, and didn't look back to see if he was really back there?

Orpheus must have been just as devastated by his loss as I am. Perhaps his faith was shattered by the blow, as mine has been, so much of my faith in humanity having come from knowing Paul. And there Orpheus was, unable to resist turning around to check on Eurydice and whether she was really back there following him up the escalator. Maybe he worried that she didn't have a ticket, and that she'd end up on one side of the turnstile and him on the other. She would have to illegally jump over. So being as big a worrier as I am he turned around and looked back, and the rest, as they say, is myth.