Musings for Miles


Miles Davis is so exquisite, so extreme. I’ve had many a nighttime writing sessions with this wizard of the horn, some rainy afternoon visits too, sometimes with a lover, wrapped naked in each other’s arms and legs as the rain falls outside the window. Those are lovely times when they come.

Here’s Davis’ “So What,” those oh-so-familiar half note followed by a staccato quarter, that, what is it, step-and-a-half interval? That going on forever before Miles begins to roll. The ride cymbal. It’s sublime. I’m grateful he lived; I’m grateful me made great art. Often it is was through great emotional pain, a chaotic life, while being eaten alive by addiction. I get it. Most if not all artists seem to experience more psychic pain, I don’t know why. Maybe being empathetic (as one must be, I believe, to be a good artist) becomes so painful when there is so much pain to be seen right now. It is the spiritual calling of the Artist not to look away in times like these. It seems like demons have been set free from hell and are sitting on global thrones of power and supported by frighteningly large numbers.
I wore my combat boots today. I haven’t had them on in years, and never after Iraq except onstage in The Eyes of Babylon. You’ll think this is silly but they are sacred to me. As much as I hate war, and I do hate war, becoming a Marine is still one of the things I’m most proud of in this life, and in a weird way, being a Marine and having taken that oath was what drove me out of active duty and into the rank an file of the activist nation, people who are actually trying to participate in this Democracy, save it perhaps. I wore the boots today because they remind me of many times when I found strength inside myself to go on when I would have guessed it was not there before. Into these boots is ground that powdery Iraq sand, almost like tan flour. They are soaked in my sweat and my tears as I wore them into my own personal Valley of the Shadow of Death and my pen and my rifle they comforted me.

The artists were among the first to sound the alarm bells in Europe in the 30s. How late will they wait to listen this time?
I try to stay out of catastrophic thinking for the most part. I do better at than sometimes over others depending on how many MAGAts have crossed my path that day.

I picked up for the next two days hanging theatrical lighting for Bacchus, one of the largest Mardis Gras balls. This will be the third year I’ve worked it. It involves crawling around in the catwalks in the Morial Conference Center. The building is a mile long. The afore-mentioned crawling will happen over and through dusted-coated duct work 100 feet above the cold, concrete floor. Dear God, don’t let me forget the high-end, gel knee pads that Josh bought me with oil money. See? “Trickle down” does work! Relax. I’m joking. I’d only believe that if I made nearer to what he does for doing what he does for doing what I do. And I’m not denigrating what he does. He made to me the best argument for working in that evil industry I think I’ve heard. “We may eventually move more and more off fossil fuels but at least for right now they are going to continue sucking oil out of the Gulf of Mexico and I know how to do it safely.” And I’d been damned if he hadn’t made a point. I hate Big Oil. The dispersants they used in the wake of the Deep Water Horizon tragedy in causing cancer at an alarming rate for some of the people who live in my adopted home state. “Cancer ally” they call a section of the coast line hit particularly hard. See the movie, The Cost of Silence by Mark Manning. It will tell you the story much better than I have.

I should go to bed. Ten hours will be long shift tomorrow since I have a pinched nerve between my shoulder blades. I’m getting too old for this shit but I need the coins.  Besides, whatever meager suffering it will bring, I offer on the altar to this endeavor, to be able to sit and type away each night in the light of this computer screen and try to inch ever closer to being a writer.

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