song: So, What

artist: Miles Davis

album: Kind of Blue

year: 1959

Set the tone.

My biggest mistake so far has been running around spending fear like a disease. Like a false prophet who comes down from the mountain not to create and cultivate, but to destroy and shame, and I want to know why. Why do I internally classify that as a mistake? It is and has been a source of anxiety, so I went down to the root and uprooted it and replanted it somewhere else and observed it scientifically. Objectively. Coldly.

On a steel bench somewhere in the emotional void, the cool wind sliding over the sanitary white tiles around me, and the drip drop drip of a leaky faucet somewhere in a damp corner. An underground feeling of pipes and earth and an even stranger view of the truth of it all – the scaffolding upon which our lives are built.

I wonder.

I thought through many styles of nonsense as I drove down Broadway yesterday afternoon and it seemed very clear to me that the world has been changing rapidly before our eyes, especially since COVID hit the planet. Something big is going on and I want to get to the bottom of it, but what does that take and am I even up for the challenge? There are more than a couple of things happening at once: A war in Europe, a restructuring of international alliances, spy equipment being shot down over the Midwest, the post 9/11 youth with a desire to stand up for themselves, the effects of Climate change now hitting the coastal states, the beginning of the return of American manufacturing, and the laundry list goes on.

It will absolutely take some work to separate the parts and define them and by the time that happens a revolution of thought will have occurred again and I’m not trying to be vague – quite literally a cycle and these are dangerous anmd fruitful times. Fucking weird, right? Do you feel the groove? Now try and catch it.

The work won’t be easy and I’m not ‘in the know’, but I am aware of the fact that no one else knows either so it’s not hard to ask dumb questions in order to open lanes for responses. Playing stupid is easier than you may think and all it takes is an appetite for risk. Like a naive drive up PCH through Malibu and past the LA County line. A getaway from a life built on getting away.

But where are we really in the arc of the plot? What are we really doing and what is our function and is this the regular movement of things or is this something uncommon? I’m not sure and I don’t know, but do you? Do you know someone who does?

I don’t know and I want to know and yes, I do know that I can Google it and surely chatGPT will have something to tell me, but I’m almost certain that it won’t be close to the truth because chatGPT doesn’t have eyes. I’ll search, “What’s going on?”, and then ask myself if I’m really feeling lucky. Are you?

As I watched the world unfold in pale green hues outside the confines of my car, I thought of what my ex once said. “Master of the universe,” she called me, and that wasn’t a compliment. She should have just told me that I was a true blowhard, because that’s what she really meant, but politeness is a strange kind of drug. Dumb really.

“A slice of time that I’m grateful to have moved through”, I wonder in the endless stream of nonsense. Color, sound, and the car stereo playing something that I first heard at the Hustler in Vegas – Judith by A Perfect Circle – but that made more sense here and now. That was the first strip club that I ever went to and moments like this where I pretend to be cool are why my ex is allowed to make fun of me. I’m aware that I’m capable of acting a tool even though I don’t like to admit it myself, but since I’m slightly self-aware, self-deprecation has become a fucking art almost elevated to religion for me. That eases the pressure for sure, and how can it not in times like these?

The Western light cascaded in high contrast fragments between the buildings up above, and the white gold pillars of gauze shattered the cool transparent charcoal silhouettes of people moving on either side of the street.

I observed a group of kids that were probably in their early twenties posing for a film camera picture taken by one of the girls from the group.

I saw Keifer at the Grand Star in Chinatown last Friday night and as we (my friends and I) were listening to one of the opening acts, my friend turned to me and said, “Hey, check out the girl with the VHS camera,” and sure enough, when I turned to look, there she was.

I saw her behind a speaker, a cereal box sized camera pressed against her face, and as she looked through the eyepiece and recorded the moment I couldn’t help but wonder if she was really being an objective observer, but also, am I? Are we really collectively making our best effort to be floating eyes with ten-thousand foot views or fuck all that and enjoy the ride? I don’t know and I never have known.

I guess you can play God and still not be able to neutralize judgement, which is weird, but maybe that’s what keeps us human.

The light turned green on Broadway and 7th and the song changed and I thought of tone.