picture this

moonlit two-wheeled foot power breaks through routine and brings powerful remembrance

through a brooklyn industrial park on the way to meet a new friend for dinner on her birthday

so many years since I was here where I once was a dedicated traveler through upstate snowscapes and city traffic alike

since this was my only way

the old frame is new, dug up from undersea silt of lately life, yet clear as last look

the train thought makes me shiver with dread

the car has changed color and shape beneath feet of white

a warm arrival, as psycho snow covered, steam huffing, little-known well-wisher

bits and fragments of pain stress anger try to intrude and color me as I don't want to be

remnants, yet dominant, of the new daily life stain my soul

obscuring love, only at first

my city tires slip and slide, sorely inappropriate for the now

where I once was sure-footed

openly telling, and not unnoticed

which is not to say this was an exercise in lament

the current has also taught me to fit

and adapt

adept at whatever I may encounter

past experts now only competent, get by nonetheless

hot collard greens and chicken fried steak and mash with biscuit gravy

here, oddly

fascinating, and the thing that traps us in this convention shattering city

approved, for you doubters, by those that know

life creeps in like weeds through the sidewalk, unconcerned with geography

we walk a few blocks to a place that I tried to find before

recommended by a chance encounter who also plays steel

puts on "church", as I call it, maybe he does too

every week behind the national

so it took me a few months to find it, i'm learning that I get where I need to go

even if I don't understand the path

the labyrinth words were not lost on me

warm wood smell and hush tone bustle of winter retreat and cold beer

I look to back and see a narrow hall, as if an old subway or diner car

with leather and wood and ornamental metal the walls of the kaleidoscope

focusing my eyes on the red velvet intimate stage at the vertex

luckily I'm given lessons like these to remind me of the dangers of pigeon-holes

to get me back in touch with my searchlight view through clouds of bullshit and posture

to not quit hope and belief

to unregister that which doesn't matter unless you let it

I stepped out to catch an air break with the smokers

and got trapped staring at the crystal moon almost vibrating with cold

clouds, whisps really, running past at incredible speed

on their way to England

which someone like me might have noticed just hours ago in Wyoming

under the same moon, in the same shimmering night

drawing me together with something that I'd lost touch with

that us little ants are all under the same light, each painting our world differently than the next

sometimes we can see beyond

I haven't even gotten to that which made me sit down here

Putting my snowpants and gloves and jacket on I heard something which drew me

into the kaleidoscope

heard with new ears warm double bass and interpreted new form flute and snare

with real harmony, between the minstrels, not just the notes

defying yet again this evening my usual tastes

stood by the wall and gave it a chance

got sucked entirely into a different mind and place

so quickly connecting with their thoughts, and mine

pure beauty and humanity in the most unlikely place on a most inhospitable night

the glimmer that refreshes and keeps us trying

eery yet melodic and moody and strong

my cheeks grew tired from smiling

my eyes grew tired from appreciation

I clapped, sincerely, with love and thanks beyond their knowing

for connecting me again

take the seed and run with it

I zipped up my gear and said my goodbyes

unlocked my bicycle and pulled it from the waist-high snow drift

put the Coltrane phones to my ears and cinched down my gloves

took off on the sidewalk with one foot on the pedal

immersed so soon in yet another thought, spawned by the last

through silky quiet snow-covered night

tasting salt kicked up by tires

feeling bumps and grooves and manholes as I glide down residential streets

thinking, and thankful, that I've learned yet again

that walls only contain you if you follow them

picture this


jason - January, 2005