HAIKUSTRIP: LONG NIGHT IN THE CLUB
#33 The being ready is important and the delivering the best you can is even more important. But you just never know how things will go down on any given night. That’s one of the most interesting and most frustrating things about being a musician, especially when you play kind of esoteric music as a soloist, or in a duo. Me and Jack have been playing together as “a thing” for about eight years now, and I’ve been doing occasional solo shows for about the last four. The most consistent thing I can say is that nothing has been very consistent so far. Truth be told, most nights lately, there’s not much of a crowd around to hear the Hellbusters. Some nights, though, we draw lots of people in. And we seem to do well in new places like down South, or up in northern California, then come back home and play for four or five or ten people some nights. I never have been able to figure it out. It used to bother me worse, back when we started, this up and down stuff at gigs… and I didn’t understand that playing the music for a crowd wasn’t the goal. The goal is to do our thing and do it well and to let the rest take care of itself. It doesn’t help the nights be any shorter, when we get asked to play a bar or club and the show starts and there’s not a soul to hear the music except the bartender and the duo playing it… but it does help me stay focused on doing our thing. Art and commerce, people. Art and commerce. For better or worse, when you see me, I’m thinking about the former, and not the later. Mostly.
HAIKUSTRIP: ACROSS THE ROOFTOP
#32 No big deal. The story behind the poem is this: I once stayed in the utterly charming penthouse of the San Remo hotel in San Francisco. The penthouse is a little shack on top of the hotel and is reachable only by a four-story walk-up of steep stairs. It’s the only room in the hotel that has a TV or a telephone. It also has a little porch area where you can sit and take in a 360-degree view of the city. While I sat there, drinking in the scenery along with a very cold Anchor Steam, from a distance I could hear a baby crying. I was suddenly stung with melancholy and jotted down this poem.
HAIKUSTRIP: BAMBOO IS SERENE
#31 My daughter drew this. She’s making her internet art debut. She had a tough time choosing which of two paintings she wanted to use for this collaboration; this one, or a drawing she made of me. Finally, she chose this one, saying “Daddy, let’s do the bamboo one. Bamboo is serene.”
HAIKUSTRIP: MY BIRTHDAY TODAY
#30 Actually, it was yesterday, my birthday. It was all right. Forty-six years of this and i’m still standing. Yay me! Something about the number though, it feels like I’ve crossed some kind of threshold. Forty was a “milestone”. Forty-one wasn’t that far removed from forty. Forty-two, well, it’s the answer to “life, the universe and everything”. Forty-three was Richard Petty’s car number. Forty-four was at least symmetrical, and forty-five had an authoritative ring to it. But forty-six feels like I’ve crossed the line to finally being on my way to getting old. Closer to fifty than forty. Past the half-way point to ninety. Yeesh.
But about it, I am okay with feeling sturdy. I can still take it, the living, and still function. That is everything. There are worse things than being a high-mileage forty-six year old after all. Every day I get to achieve a new personal record for consecutive days lived, if I am sturdy enough.
HAIKUSTRIP: THE HUMBLE FISH HOOK
#29 My luck at fishing is legendary. Which is to say, stories are told about it. I’m not unlike most (or many… or at least some) fishermen and fishing enthusiasts in this. Stories about fishing and fishing trips are at least as important as the actual act of fishing. Also, the rituals. The equipment. The outsmarting of aquatic animals who have IQ a little higher than barley and oats is a fine hobby, or even obsession, or profession. Personally, catching a fish is a big deal. Eating the fish is also a big deal. Or releasing the fish is a big deal. It’s all a big deal. Because I’m generally an average or below-average as an angler. I have heard it said that sex and golf are the only two things you don’t have to be good at to enjoy. I think fishing is another activity that would qualify for this axiom; especially for those of us who don’t play golf, because there are no fish in golf.
HAIKUSTRIP: WHEN NECESSARY
#28 I guess it’s lack of progress in the “needing to kill” area that I question. I’m not a pacifist or a fool and understand there are dangers we need defense from, and I guess I can imagine scenarios where offensive force would be required. However, if I was in charge of the Universe, nobody and nothing would get blown up, and nobody and nothing would die, except on a computer screen, or in my imagination. Ever.
FOUR STRING FRIDAY!
COMPRESSION - Four Strings of Fury Style
My blues song “Compression” done on uke. Kinda like it. Hope you do.
HAIKUSTRIP: STRESS IN ABUNDANCE
#27: It’s true. Your cat doesn’t care. No cat cares about your conference calls or your stress. Leading, obviously, to the thinking person eventually wondering “then why do I care?” But then again, the cat does care about cat food. I used to tell my cat all the time “who’s gonna buy the cat food if you don’t leave me alone long enough for me to get my work done to make the money to buy the cat food?” and the cat never replied.