Road to Brave

July 17, 2017

Wouldn’t turn away/
Not for all you’ve got for sale/
Pardon me I’ve got to say/
Wouldn’t you prefer to leave your dignity complete, for all I’ve seen it seems to me it might be weighing heavy on you/

I’ve got a road to brave/
I keep breaking and re-breaking your heart/
I got a way that I might finally see things through/
Alone/

Cull a sacred flower/
Reap from all you’ve ever sown/
Couldn’t name the hour/
Wouldn’t you prefer to lay a delicate refrain and save the words we say for Love from weighing heavy on you/

I got a road to brave/
I keep breaking and re-breaking your heart/
I got a way that I might finally see things through/
Alone/

I am sure that I am/
Farthest from your mind/
I am warning I am/
Not that hard to find/
On the morning when I’ve come/

I got a road to brave/
I keep breaking and un-breaking your heart/
I got a way that I might finally see things through/
Alone/

Between you and me I don’t feel like this is something I can let go/
Between you and me I don’t feel like this is something I can let go/
Between you and me I don’t feel like this is something I should let go/
Between you and me I don’t feel like this is something I should let go/

~AF

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(super)hero #1

June 24, 2017

From this height you could look down at the city and see anything you wanted. The blanket of night covered well beyond the western horizon, but it still felt early.

Most of the noise amidst the skyscrapers from the streets below was still being made by families, early dates, late stragglers working their way home after long days at the office. The criminal element didn’t emerge until late. Later, it seemed, than it used to. When it emerged at all.

A figure draped in black perched on the edge of the maintenance deck for the antenna cluster. A peak of sorts, in a skyline of blinking peaks. Gusts of wind summoned their way up to engulf the folds of his cape and billow it out into a black flag. He cocked his head, listening intently for a sound that wasn’t there. Nothing rose above the whistles and howls swirling around him. There were no sirens wailing in the distance. No cries for help in the crackling echo of the earpiece in his cowl. There were no crises, no distress for his concern.

“Shit.”

He stood, shaking his head, and scanned the hundreds of feet below him. He leaned into a hot vent blasting up from the street. He hung for a moment, above the chasm, and fell.

~AF

Life Jazz

July 6, 2017

dissonance (dis’e-nens) n. 1. A harsh, disagreeable combination of sounds; discord. 2. Lack of agreement, consistency, or harmony; conflict. 3. Music. A combination of tones contextually considered to suggest unrelieved tension and require resolution.

I am not a Jazz guy. Where dissonance ranks in the hierarchy of device. I love Jazz, it is simply not my ‘go to’ genre. Not in music anyway. As a songwriter I am happiest when I land in a pop-ish neo-soul/folk/Americana territory. I write cleanly in the pocket, rely on lyric to drive the substance of my work, and use the music behind the melody to provide familiar foundation for a broad audience. At least I try. When it comes to people, especially in creative collaboration, the jazz man cometh.

Introduction. Rhythm of exchange, cadence. You sit here and I will…stand, no, sit, over here. Will you lead or will I. I prefer to defer and get a sense of what you bring to the table. The hi-hat counts us in and we’re off.

Melody. Beat the scrub to find the path. Is it straight or does it meander, is it both? Guided meditation toward discovery. I knock gently from stage left to wonder aloud where we’re headed. Wasn’t there a left turn at Albuquerque? No, no, you drive. I’m just asking for the sake of axing.

Thumping rhythm and the clack-clack of hands furious, meeting the soft-worn wood of the bass. There is a foundation for what we do. In every meeting where men and women of purpose gather there is an ode to be found. Notes to be played. A song.

No two artists every play the same. Even when you bring the same players back to the stage, they aren’t beginning anew. They resume their masterwork, take up the bars again. A coda to the music of lives intertwined. Improvisational by design. Intentional by nature.

We dance without knowing how the next bar might turn. Snatching away at the next set of black ovals that translate toward meaning. Symbols for words made of symbols for sounds made of symbols for feeling. Writing the railway as we barrel down the tracks. Frenzied for knowing the next slip could foul the whole measure.

Many are listeners. The world needs music lovers. Though if you are able you ought to take up your instrument and learn to play. When the music of the world goes unwritten, when the craft of lives intertwined goes unsung, everybody everywhere shines a little less brightly for the loss. And the players on stage grow a little more weary.

I do not apologize for my insistence that every moment then is fraught with meaning. Only that in my hurry to discover the next phrase I can overlook the layabouts. And in my sometimes hunger for complement I see adept where there is only aficionado with potential. But I have learned to slow the tempo to grow the base. And let the music find me instead of the other way around. And at the end of it all just play.

~AF

Tolerate

June 28, 2017

I came to the secured unit door after work. All of Industry and Education had already switched back in, per usual. OFC Brown was assigned to the door. He unlocked it and let me in.

AF: What’s up, Brown?

B: What’s goin’ on, Fait?

AF: Same old, man. You all right?

B: Yeah. Hold up though, I got to pat you down?

AF: What? You’re kidding right?

B: Nah, man. LT says that when y’all are comin’ back from Industry we’re on the number system, but everybody comin’ back on a pass has to get a pat search.

AF: But I’m not comin’ back from a pass, I’m comin’ back from work.

B: Oh yeah, what’s your pass say?

AF: I don’t have a pass.

B: Oh, really? Where are you comin from that you don’t have a pass.

AF: Chapel.

B: Right. You see these new cameras they just put in? (gestures above the door) They ain’t here to watch you. They here to watch me. All that warden does all day is sit up in his office watching the cameras to make sure I do what he tells me. I used to stand out in the hallway, but LT says this is [my] unit, I gotta do em inside the door.

(blue nitrile gloves are on. the discussion portion of the search is over with. a guard is like a referee, or your boss; they aren’t always right, but they’re never wrong. winning the argument can only make things worse.)

A standard pat search is something like the TSA search, depending on who does it. The problem with Brown is that he’s an aggressive search. And it wasn’t but a couple of weeks ago that he stopped me in Corridor to search me because I ‘looked suspicious’. I know you can’t see me, or know how I move. I might be the least suspicious looking guy around here.

(hands at my shoulders, working down my arms as though testing whether my muscle is ripe, pressed along my torso, front and back, smoothing my state issue T-shirt for a wrinkle that isn’t there)

There was a blonde guard in my last unit. She played similar games, but I knew where she was coming from. She was right in the middle of the pat-down-aggression-spectrum. And she never pulled me over just to paw at me.

(around my waist, pulling the pockets of my sansabelt denim away from my body to check if I am stupid enough to smuggle in my pockets, allowable contact on my thighs begins just outside my bathing suit area, if my bathing suit is a European-cut trunk short.)

AF: No, I work in the chapel. “Chapel Worker” is my job. I don’t have a pass because I’m returning from work.

B: Oh. Well…you have a nice day, Fait.

Getting felt up on a (supposedly) random and regular basis is part of this life. No less an invasion for its necessity, but you grow accustomed to it. I’m not going to sit here and pretend to feel violated by routine. That’s why Brown’s conduct is red flag. There are a handful of reasons to single me out. A couple of which I might have even encouraged in blonde guard. But Brown isn’t really my type. So, he’s trying to be funny, thinks I’m actually on one, maybe he has a thing for me, or maybe he’s just trying to cover his own ass by lingering too close to mine. I could ask him a thousand different ways and never get a straight answer.

So it’s another piece of routine. Ask the questions you can’t answer. Tolerate the uncertainty. Pay attention to the Browns of this world and be prepared for every one of the possible answers to be the actual answer. And otherwise let things go.

~AF

P.S. ~ (June 29, 2017) So, obviously, Brown’s name isn’t really Brown. But when I passed him today and called him “Brown” he looked genuinely hurt, thinking I forgot his name. And it isn’t like I can explain I’ve been writing about his behavior out in the world…I feel real smart right now.