(© 2004, Scott A. Josephson. All rights reserved.)
Carried across a soundless, mediocre caressed Friday evening rushes a young man hurried -- brown-tinted glasses slightly stained, loose fitting slacks a light blue denim, caramel overcoat slung over left arm, then right arm, then flailing upwards, destined toward near reaches of the high 40s, where stood a rainbow sherbet scooped fantasy itself wrought in the infinitely colored passions of the once impossible -- an image of myself, able-bodied pedestrian striding streetcorners at galloped cavalier pace, brilliant boyish eyes ashimmer, young ever still in frightening shine -- remnants of these 24 years aching, wrinklelessness revolving over the terrible melting that is youth waxing.
There awaited, slumped she, in beautiful languish -- form fitting top matching jet black hair, skirt aflow -- captured not in landscaped Italia, skyscraped metropolita -- not Milano nor Firenze, Napoli, even Roma Almighty. She the 1940s, the 1990s, black and white photographs spilled across shoeboxed coffeetables, photocopied and plastered so perfectly artistic as wrapping paper for the weekend maternal holiday -- statue incomparable at the foot of Mediterranean trafficked waves, posed in gorgeous, delicate repose. All my every trip to Europe in every minute passing becomes meaningless.
At almost 25, seated across and inches away, but reaching still across canyons untenable, did we conquest six years wrought through the plights of sadness and Smiths CDs and something none may ever call affectation, but rather utterless affection.
My skin is scratching still for screaming release.
One eat-em, two eat-ems, three eat-ems. This ravished young man did for once consume his poet-philosopher visage for a truth in happiness found in invoking, evocative eyes the opposite sex did possess, Frida Kahlo eavesdropping the evening entire.
Stiff neighbors obnoxious; they detract nothing. Earthquake, tropical storm, apocalypse itself could rip through existence -- and in difference I would remain, never not -- no disaster distraction could expunge smiles earnest, my tender, teenage-cultivated, nurtured kindness -- abdomen butterfly farm aflitter.
Early May, just before a quarter of a century; Ninth Avenue ablaze in flippant sips of Cachaca, limeless bottle emblazoned, Pitu carved across its label. A Friday evening in my life, but a Friday all the different -- not alone, sunken in orange fabric upholstery of university-issued chair, leaves crisp and arresting trees stretching and Ridgewood laundry cell-block, blocking a true view of the rest of campus -- stereo blasting through oversized headphones, tears never quite washing clean lurking Boston, sexless existence of celibacy unyielding tragic, common room abandoned for elsewhere engagements, invitation denied -- bartered for a Friday evening I now own.
Port Authority escalators again, signaling farewell -- Hoboken queue devoid, bus awaiting as did she, 49th and 9th, lingering still for a boy whose brain an inconstant standstill -- twirling, yearning to purchase NJ Transit ticket, occupy adjacent seat, depart vehicle in this dreamscape I have never known, sweet, forgiving Hoboken. Never had so luscious a vision, New Jersey, appealed to lips licked not for another subway ride, but to awaken -- in an ultimate occasion -- on the right side of the river.
Oh, we will share Caiprinhas and decadence and hand-holding and broad creaking boardwalks, and Italy supple on Jersey Avenues just west of east, and just east of sunrise.
10 February 2006
(© 2004, Scott A. Josephson. All rights reserved.)
09 February 2006
As a fairly intelligent, sober representative of teenagers and twentysomethings from every corner of American suburbia, let me say thank you. This is not nearly another fan letter where I'm going to gush and relive how "Lover Lay Down" was sprinkled in the background when I lost my virginity in the backseat of a Chevrolet at the age of 16, or how your live performances inspire me to find the cure for AIDS.
Instead, I express the gratitute of millions of youngsters across this mighty nuclear nation, for crafting a soundtrack to which we can screw. I know, crass it as it may sound, even you cannot deny the impact of your tunes and how you have worked with your fellow bandmates, lifelong chum, and talented producers to refine a sound that is, essentially, fuck rock.
You have filled our childhood bedrooms and our cars, our not-so-nearby arenas, and our headphones with tunes that make us want to get downright freaky; many interpret your lyrics as a call to drugs, that a "Jimi Thing" is not the act of closing one's eyes, laying back, and enveloping one's self in the mystical aura that was Hendrix -- but instead, another reason to toke the reefer.
And yes, I cannot disagree that several of your songs elicit the necessity for legalized marijuana -- or, perhaps, the tight integration of it in our culture, so much so that many of your fans receive the potent herb from their most benevolent of suppliers -- their parents.
But returning to the sex -- I often wonder, how do you do it, Dave? When you and Boyd, Carter, Leroi, and Stefan (and lest we forget Timmy), step inside a studio, does it cross your minds that the product of those 10-12 hands will shortly seep down to the carress of two 14-year olds experiencing one another's bodies for the first time? Did you know that when I finally lost my virginity -- we need not mention an age, for you will only find it laughable -- that the unreleased "Lillywhite Sessions" disc was spinning (and we made it skip)? Yes, Dave, we even get our swerve on to your bootlegs.
And there I go talking about losing my virginity, albeit against my earlier promise. Well, how can I help myself? Do you see what you're doing to us? But again, this is a composition and exercise in thankfulness, and I alone cannot set forth this proclamation and allow it to echo so resonantly as it should.
Dave, I want you to know that you have given all of us just a dash of hope, in Boyd's violin and Leroi's saxophone, Carter's happily bouncing drums (not an innuendo, really), and Stefan's masterful bass lines (particularly, Crush), in your yelps and yeahs, bellows and chants -- it is your voice that intermingles with mine and hers, with all of the he and shes, hopefully older than 13, as we break in the bedsprings and test the capacity and legroom of our vehicles.
Thank you for being a modern-day aphrodisiac. After all, I was likely conceived to K.C. & the Sunshine Band -- or, worse, Barry Manilow.
Truly yours in music and all matters vagetarian,
Novice of Cambridge
08 February 2006
So, if anyone would like to be made an administrator, let me know.
The way we ran things on cyberpols was that anyone could add whatever they liked. If you want to delete, ask the group. If you want to change the template (look and feel) of the site, go for it, but save the XML from the previous. If anyone has a strong objection to the new look, we go back.
Right now, me 'n' Scott are admins. Let me know if you want to be (it means you can change stuff around, basically).
I just picked this template for the heck of it; I don't mind, for my part, any change.
Also, just to be clear, just cuz I started this doesn't make it "mine" -- it's ours.
So, rock on. Like all the activity!
07 February 2006
(© 2004, Scott A. Josephson. All rights reserved.)
There sat we beneath the canopy of tented table, enclosed and sheathed by white linen, sharing weighty words five years in the making, or perhaps five years ago. This felt unlike Manhattan or 2004 or even Spring. It was simply time together and that's all it should ever be.
Shoes removed, inhibitions lost; a prix fixe menu with prices meaningless, detaching ourselves from any external world -- the anxiety band subsuming my mind for 6 months previous, melting in the proximity of this woman with whom I, perched on Egyptian couch, tiny table, a boundless feast of conversation, beautiful eyes, and long hair (I still love long hair), shared every ounce of the essence of my being.
Simon and Garfunkel's music never made more sense than tonight. Not when writing DM, not when cavorting across Washington Square Park (when dreams were youth and disappointment present but still able to be overcome), or alone on icy January night, closing the Kaplan Online Hub at 10 PM, traversing East to West with 22-year old gusto, the spiritual exercise.
There sat we as if time itself had halted, with a twist. Older, yes, but barely changed. But smiles and tents and soup with the consistency of snot alone cannot mend the heartbreak or the time lost or that night when I should have stayed in her car and let us soar to heights unbroken, to the New England I never knew, to the world where evenings behind the wheel wouldn't feel so hopelessly alone any longer -- to the youth I screamed I never had and the Massachusetts of suburban streets where kids watch the same shows I did, reel the same pains in a shared teenagedom that will continue beyond today.
These eyes have held beauty before in their limited engagement of Central Park, 57th Street, North Brunswick, Montauk, Waltham even. The Boulevard might as well have dissolved in to Lexington Avenue. It didn't feel like a dream but a distant reality where things were for once going my way; countless hours in Egyptian tent, every need nurtured with pleasant accomodation, my Cleopatra restored to her throne of misery.
But why must beauty suffer? Why is the world never enough? How is it that happiness has become a self-imposed, unavailable realm, and misery its all too accessible, bitter sister?
And how can I lie to myself and believe I am happy? Happy in her presence once more, a presence I never expected to return rushing to the battered arms of this tortured soul. How 1998 reassumes triumphant, beating, blasting out 19 years the call for a surging tomorrow.
I view her as the future, everything in her eyes gorgeous. But pain uneasy, sadness in her unrest. She calms me, yet I struggle with myself to craft a happiness to call my own -- a battle of casualties the very same as hers, and yours, and all of ours.
She is blinding light, but also she is darkness. And in a way, so am I, brown shirt tucked in tan pants, right shoe too tight, causing me to limp. Laughter on subway platforms, laughter in our own private tented Brandeis, mocking our waiter's use of the neologism, "yum-a-doodle." Laughter of youth and Rhett's smile and the joy we'd find in each other's arms if we'd only make that sacrifice and accept ourselves.
But, alas, I know I am a jaded idealist, a lost philosopher -- and I will not let false thoughts belie these eyes as so often they do. I have known the lonely pavement of 3,000 miles -- but it is not the gravel that reaches out for the comfort of the world. No, the sidewalks and the streets are not alone -- it is I.
And riding trains and buses and subways and walking through tunnels and stations and cities all along my life have I know such terrifying loneliness. Hands entrenched in pockets, music overpowering, tears never quite coming. Air-drumming, avoiding all forms of humanity, seeking refuge in the confines of art.
Traversing through stations, past homes and concrete, mailboxes and stop signs, traffic lights in a town that isn't mine. Massachusetts Avenue, Porter Square, just before midnight after a silent, screeching T ride. Boston -- an urban center bursting with youth, yet permeated, pervading with a centuries-old sadness.
I feel the echoes and sighs of cities and streetlights -- I know my father's melancholy in the mid 1960s; the deaths of Presidents and dreams and girls riding buses to Hoboken that could have been yours.
And through all of this, I shiver. Constantly I do toil to no avail, spurting savings on concerts I can't wait to end, simply to say I was present -- to tack another ticket stub to the list of famous people who performed before mine eyes.
How sad this city is, Lexington to 1st, the 59th Street Bridge just as it was when Paul Simon was as mournful as I. New York -- this overpriced, overwrought metal and glass monstrosity that somehow considers itself the center of the universe. It is everything that is wrong and shameful about America; it is everything we should have never become.
It's the stuff that stomach aches are made of. It's an anxious, fucked up little town with crude motherfuckers who hate themselves and reflect this by hurting and killing and cremating one another in to the pavement. There is no unity or culture or camraderie, but war and lust, bloodthurst and mistrust. And everyone's out there living ignorant lives apart from one another, when we're all living the same anxiety that one day we're going to die and leave the world without the knowledge as to why we're fucking here in the first place.
And still we ride these subways, exhaust our dollars, and carry onward somehow beyond this sadness. We seek no solace in one another, shunning friendship in the face of anonymity. Yet we relish our surroundings, a false ubiquity of every pretense.
All of this existed not in the confines of our tent -- a world I wished I'd never escape, for she was mine and I hers, behind the white veil of vanished youth. But it's the hope, not that one day everything will start to make sense -- but the simple hope that love will find us together and, for the first time, maybe we'll start to understand the madness that we wrote on this timeless eve of twenty-somethings evermore.
(© 2004, Scott A. Josephson. All rights reserved.)
"It all changed when The Beatles recorded 'Rain'," offered the man who cooked me dinner -- who, since I started working a full-time job, I have considered my sage.
Pour another trothful of wine -- better yet fill my glass halfway, otherwise I will spit to spill volumes characteristic.
Nestled we were in mile-long suburbs, sprouting train stations across lush, tree-stretching swamplands -- there eternal shared a man and a woman and a newly 25-year old boy, one duplex, voter registration, raw fish weekend loaded down in nostalgia burdened not by the weight broken by a thousand iconic Helens of Troy, or Flemington, as it were.
Hearken a time in my life when my friends were still in college, my cynicism less dry, my eyelids torrential less dry -- East Village emptiness, ice walks slippery -- bound West for A, C, E train and West 4th and the gaping disappointment that would be the Summer of 2001, despite the light illumination of forever under construction granite Arch.
Whisk my body to the shift of 24, seated agape adjacent to Boston lilac, crushing passionate Italian -- brown bags piled after jug after jug of nectar Neopolitan. Dizzying, narrow Philadelphia -- its grey and dusty, terrifyingly tiny avenues winding -- and who puts a bathroom atop a staircase mighty in a bar frequented by the already trashed eternal?
Expense me alcohol and Bombay Chicken salads, hungover and hungering for bodily smarm with the other Assistant Directors, if only for a snatch of a second -- name I cannot our hotel, or anything at all learned at this, our inaugural training -- but that many of us are now Directors or fired or in a sphere now where Philly matters not -- but I cannot cease remembrance, vivid were it earlier this evening: NJ Transit trek downwards, Ed and a bag of Chips Ahoy! and charming lesson historic of what New Yorkers term the Midwest, and the working-class bridge spanning Trenton -- switching trains, crossing tracks; the rotund, unbearable Asian girl weaving her way to the Electric Factory for evening concert and gabbing until Ed couldn't grace us with his Mark McKinney grin any longer.
25 now and all the less secure. Has it been two years since I have done anything theatrical?
Image of myself, accompanied by ageless thirty-somethings -- beings brilliant who at once escalated this town as academics shining -- streets sidelined, brick-lined walls bordering fields and halls and an aching city whining, once capital of infant nation, now tented and shrieking, spelling out my name on SEPTA buses, spanning Allentown to Schuylkill County, and all those Morrissey-less miles in tandem.
Oh city, how thy pain speaketh in syllables this suburban fetus at once understands in ways uncounted, and in longing I knoweth thine misfortune!
I think maybe I started to get something in that hot, midday Philadelphia sun -- perhaps not as reveling as the burgeoning autumn of Waltham '99 -- but an uncertain loneliness, or the shadow of John Kerry, and white Toyota, poised and pointed to defeating a highway, battling toll booths and Atlas maps where roads intersect relationships and Conshohocken, 15 years ago -- basement hockey, friendships locked in the ruination of the backseat of dueling attorneys' Mercedes, the end of elementary and the onslaught of silent highschool, four years sweatpants, two years jeans -- but friendless all the same.
Philadelphia, 1987: wide-eyed white boy clinging to his souvenir Liberty Bell, standing on tip-toes to spot Sun Chair -- smelling, sensing history; seeing a nation now emblazoned over, blanketed, blinded red, white, and blue in SpringFest horrific.
Please freeze me until reality TV and Atkins slip on the ice and crack their fucking head open and die. I don't care if that means cutting my head off, it's a worthwhile sacrifice. Just piece me the fuck back to together better than they tried to in that choking, awful mistake I think they call high school.
Philadelphia, 2003: how our pain is mirrored, mired all the same. Drown your ADs in Chinese food, Dunkin Donuts, family-style Italian gorging -- you cannot pay us enough, offer us a million margarited Mauis, and still expect happiness or an output of success overloaded. Feel me then, one year after birthday bliss dissected in July email, stringing my body across the Brooklyn Bridge, resurrected only by familial cell phone conversational reassurance and smiling, mind-conquering, long-haired brunette traipsing tight-wires across opposite direction -- stopped only by plaques and my own childish, dimpled smile, too often masked brown, under tinted sunglasses, mangy facial hair, but most of all, wroughtless frown.
John Kerry will win Pennsylvania's electoral vote courtesy of a young man who registered to vote in Virginia while in college whom I approached -- unaware of his inability to vote in his home state of PA, I registered him -- my one bite of the day entire, but a weekend worthwhile not for a tent bursting with ignorant, striped shirt college know-nothings -- but a 22-year old clutching a tank topped girlfriend, soothing his 4 year absence in his promise of sweet return. That embrace -- not $3 drafts, nor blondes in tight shirts, nor cover bands, nor cigarettes, nor Volkswagons, nor singles websites -- is America.
Perch me at the foot of your couch and speak with me past midnight. Inflate my mattress in your work-study, piled floor to ceiling windows of knowledge, tomes teeming -- like your minds Mensa -- of a life examined, fulfilled, puzzled questioning -- accepting neither self-destruction any longer nor denying destiny not for the loss of New York, finances, or the integrity that never comes with working tireless for corporations unscrupulous.
Drive me to the foot of New Jersey, feed me cheesesteaks -- stick me in the sun until I'm no longer shy. Let me forget what you know is no longer worth knowing.
Give me yet another reason to live onward, for you always provided me with a fair chance and a sound logic and never the condensed bullshit a boss is told belongs in the esteemed realms of proper management.
Resume scripting poetry for you are the gifted one -- for I know you hunched, peering over keyboard inspired -- or biking and drumming and typing a misery I can never know. And you consider me the fortunate one, but I have always believed that you possess the strength to overcome even yourself.
If there's one thing you've taught me, it's that I am exceptional -- but I've never really believed you and I don't think I will until maybe when I reach my 30th birthday. And at least by then, George Bush can't possibly be President.
06 February 2006
One could write a poem about drinking tea.
About drinking tea and looking into the reflection.
"Drink away my friend," I say.
I wait a bit longer.
And I look a bit closer.
A nose slowly in focus. Shadows the highs and lows of a contrasted detail.
Then an eye. All seeing?
On the brink of time-space, images curve
A mouth, neck and motion the warp. The nose reaches the other end of my universe.
Shaking, vibrating, pulsing pores. It could be horrid or beautiful. Frightening?
"What you see is who you are," my friend whispers, "Drink away."
And I drink. I drink every last drop till the cup bleeds no more.
Because I like my Fruit and Almond tea.
But it's just a cup of tea
I just scribbled this down about two minutes ago. I actually had these thoughts while drinking a cup of tea. I've meant it to be like drinking my reflection, "myself" as society and even I see myself ("What you see is who you are."). At the same time, the poem is meant to tell people that their self image is just an image. I happen to like my image, or my cup of tea, so I drank all of it!
That was just the most obvious metaphor. Can anyone find some others? I'm curious as to what people would think.
05 February 2006
In this essay, I imagine meeting Charlie Parker, one of the Jazz Giants for Bebop. One of the metaphors lies in the fact that it doesn't make sense until after the first couple of reads.
*Hint: If you get flustered or annoyed, just realize that you're an example of the people in history that have come after the creation itself.
PS: This isn't exactly a final draft. So, if anyone's got suggestions, please feel free to criticize.
Directions: Just Read It Like There’s Music In Between The Lines
It’s the nonsensical matters. That’s what they are. The balls dropping, plank bounces, plop on pot. Rebound, swirl, land. They make that sexy double entendre of jazz different for everyone. Beautiful? Nah, better.
We know that. Can’t you feel it? Fike n’ pop da yah WAM! Yea, that was Max Roach; his drum sticks are magic guns on the pickup. Russell, Gillespie, Haig and Bird join in. A Night In
Now, you might ask, “What the hell are you talking about?” I’m talking about bebop. That’s jazz. Real jazz. Real communication. Real life. Jazz for Roach, Russell, Gillespie, Haig, and Bird is like shaping water like a crystal ball. They are the future of jazz to come. They don’t know that yet, though. And another thing: you peer through the crystal, not at it. (In between the lines). Or for Bird, Charlie Bird Parker, you make it. I’m talking about that famous saxophonist in the second paragraph. I’m talking about his sentence structure. You didn’t know? Bird made bebop. With Dizzy Gillespie, Curly Russell and Max Roach, of course. And other big names, too. Bebop, real jazz, real communication, real life, is a crystal ball. Bird and them made it.
So when I meet Bird, we talk through sentence structure. Actually, Bird makes it and I just learn his hot twang and silk. Not stereotypical sentences, obviously, because it’s 1945. Bebob’s just being born. Right here, right now. In this room,
I play jazz, too. That’s why I can understand, sorta. Bird and I know there’s really no sentence structure to the song. But who understands that!? Normal people make the structure so they can understand. The innovators, they just feel it. Real understanding doesn’t need sentence structure. Like if you’re Bird, you don’t worry structure. You make it. That’s the trick.
You’re the trick. I’m the trick. What’s the trick? Call and response. Bird’s soloing on the bridge. He’s hanging over the precipice of the
What exactly is this crystal ball, this jazz, this life? A symbol. Bird and the musicians shape the water, or music, they see. That’s just what they do. Later, people interpret and clarify that shape. It just so happens that it’s a crystal ball because you can see through it, through Bird’s music, and see the past, the present and the future.
That’s the jazz Bird and I discussed. That’s the jazz of life.