Fives: Autumn Up / Fall Down

jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
edited November 2008 in Strut Central
- Not too long ago was the anniversary of the passing of my man Joe Larry, who fell several years back, somewhere in his mid-thirties, to the big disease with the little name. I'm sure he was as complex and fucked-up and scheming as anyone, but to those of us who only really knew him toward the end, he was a simple, sweet, burnt greyhound of a man, loved dearly.b, 21b, 21The sores on his feet kept him from wearing anything heavier than ever-fresh white tube socks, so whenever our parking lot was wet, I'd have to carry him to my car. The bird-like rustle of his vanishing frame and the clock-tick of the heavy meds that filled his canvas tote made it feel like carrying a bag of leaves in which someone had hidden a glass jar of river stones. It was a horribly awkward transaction for both of us, but necessary, so we always spent those whole minutes just bullshitting and trying to avoid making eye contact.b, 21b, 21And he was always cold--just deep, bone cold. In the car we had to keep the windows rolled up and the heat blasting, even in the hell's mouth of deepest Carolina July. I'd keep telling him it was no big deal, but he'd just stare out the window and shrink into his blanket (One of his estranged daughters had bought it for him: it was some ridiculous fleecey children???s thing covered with yukking cartoon characters, given to him--a grown man--as an insult. He treated it like it was laced with smallpox, but nonetheless always wore it, sometimes in tears, and always with the penitent air of the guilty parent. He seemed to consider it another part of his burden.), calculating how long before he could reasonably apologize again for all the trouble. b, 21b, 21Anyway, peace to my man Joe Larry. I think of you often.b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21We ate all the leaves. All of them. We roared in from the high valley, invisible whales of appetite and velocity, continents of hungry lung, inhaling blocks and blocks at a time and leaving trees holding up nothing but the glaring banner of a blank season come too quick. It only took us one half Saturday to disappear the billows of branch-borne lacework that had sugared the transition from ground to sky, and replace them with woody skeletons reaching in want, suddenly naked, their snapping joints and thorned knuckles now snagging every eye's rise, tangling all vision. You should have seen it: the leaves quivering and compassing in advance of our reaving, practically leaping toward their sublimation into nothing. All gone.b, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- As close as I try to hold my beautiful City With The Bent Frame, things continue to fragment. Chicago, somehow I think we will part / before the cup appears. No sip, no grail, just like a ship without a sail. I'd like to be wrong about that, but I don't think I am. b, 21b, 21b, 21- Slum Village's "Fall In Love" is really some of the hardest shit for me to listen to. I mean, just terrible. Has a beat that beautiful ever been betrayed more completely? The lyrics are clunky, misogynist, have no fucking flow at all, and include that hoariest of denials, invoked at one time or another by a wide array of cornballs, from lowly no-names all the way up to, like, Timbaland: "Fuck this rap shit, I listen to classical." As if that weren't enough, after the fade but before the end of the track (so you can't program around it), there's an endless minute of perhaps the shittiest mummy-rap freestyling ever committed to aluminum. b, 21b, 21The track is just so surpassingly gorgeous, though. I need it need it need it. But not like this. Not with these fucking dudes all over it. Look, I've given up on a true instrumental (and that J.Rawls thing is butt), but I've got that Mangione record, so what I really need is for someone to up that record with the drums (it's some NYC studio breakbeat record, right? doesn't Quo or somebody have this shit?) so I can Frankenstein something up for my own listening pleasure and be done with the godawful vocal version forever. Won't you please help?b, 21b, 21b, 21- I saw a freshly dead animal in an intersection outside the hospital, and it looked exactly like a wet, wadded American flag.b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21Can you tell meb, 21how to ever find the timeb, 21to tell the onesb, 21who bring you loveb, 21that they're always on your mind?b, 21To take the ones who have scattered and sayb, 21"Hey, I hope that you're doing fine"?b, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- What you know about this heat?b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21makes my heart...b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21b, 21...beatsss a lil' fasterb, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21"What I want to know is," he said, "is you got the dog?"b, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- Still...still!b, 21b, 21b, 21- Ohio Players' "Pride & Vanity"--I could listen to this for days.b, 21b, 21b, 21- Fuck all this shit, though--I need to develop a pill habit or something. Whole mouthfuls of oblivion in little paradise-colored tablets. I can see the appeal.b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21Thine enemy will come, sweeping old ties togetherb, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- A new genus I keep running into: Dudes At The Record Store Trying To Talk To Me About Lee Moses. Like, three times in the last two months, three different, apparently unrelated dudes. Is there a convention in town or something?b, 21b, 21b, 21- Dancehall dudes, help me out: A while back I heard some thing with Red Rat (and maybe a second dude) chatting over "8th Wonder"/"Daisy Lady." The only lyrics I remember are "All my ladies, sexy babies." Does anyone know what this is?b, 21b, 21b, 21- "Love, peace, and happiness / in an endless twirl"--doesn't that sound lovely.b, 21b, 21b, 21- I'm ecstatic that Obama won, but I nonetheless remain salty over the fact that I now have to show ID to Secret Service dudes three times a week just because my daughter attends preschool directly across the street from his house. I mean, I understand, but it's still wack.b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21Ah! Will the holidays last indefinitely and those games in the country where I am the boss?b, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- Rosemary, I pray you get better. My mind is crowded, but still I think of you all the time.b, 21b, 21b, 21- This is that old weather, soulstrut.b, 21b, 21b, 21
Quote:h, 21b, 21Love is all I bring.b, 21b, 21h, 21
b, 21b, 21b, 21- A little while ago ("Was it back in September?") I was talking to my man (and yours) Dave about my other man, Charles Stepney. The exchange made me go back and re-listen to a lot of Stepney-related material, and I was struck again by how obvious all his stuff is. Well, maybe "obvious" isn't the right word, but it seems like everything he touched has an emotional directness that's impossible to miss. Which was interesting, as everything I've read about (and from) Stepney presents him as pretty rigorously anti-populist: a difficult master who felt constrained by the tastes of The People, a perfectionist who found vocalists overrated and considered them just another color on the producer/arranger's palette (and a lesser color, at that). The kind of angular dude who felt that the only important Beatle was George Martin.b, 21b, 21I don't believe that's true, though; even with his own claims to the contrary, I don't believe that's really
the way he felt. I read something about Marcel Duchamp that said although he spent his career laughing at the idea of "art history," at the same time, he made damn sure that his art ended up in museums. I think Stepney was the same. I think he had a deep devotion to his own complicated vision, but also a deep need to convey that vision, and a deep understanding that to do so he would, above all else, need to connect. He recognized that his vision was difficult, and knew that without that essentially human connection, that completed circuit between the music and the listener, he'd end up "plying [his] seductions in the mirror." b, 21b, 21And in lesser hands this kind of thing goes so so poorly: lofty but ill-conceived notions of bridging the avant-garde and the popular that instead end up insulting both. So consistently, though, Stepney's is the sound of truly complex personal ideas getting put across fully and warmly, in every shade of plain humanity. The hard math beneath Earth Wind & Fire's radiant optimism; the dark brain behind Electric Mud's stiff dick; the Taj Mahal through which flits and flutters the Dells' do-you-like-me?-check-box-yes-or-no; the spiral staircase building itself faster than thought to rise and meet and elevate Minnie Riperton's every heavenly breath. Omnivorous and focused, Stepney's sound is the all-overness you feel expressed with the clarity you want, prickly in the conception, but warm in the transmission--deep-seated, but reaching forth. b, 21b, 21And in this season, when our bodies, our minds, our hearts--our sparks--start to begin to get layered under, to withdraw, who can't feel the hope in such a sound?b, 21b, 21....b, 21b, 21Anyway, I know y'all got some shit out there, too. What's really going on?


  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    b, 21b, 21b/wb, 21b, 21a transitional period (like the end of autumn)b, 21b, 21A lot of floating professional and personal projects where i could play a key role but all the pieces are hanging on by a loose threadb, 21b, 21I've lived most my (young) life accomplishing my dreams...Age 16 and i visited 3 continents in a yearb, 21Then I started an NGO and worked hard as F*ck to get off the ground and reach sustainability but problems kept popping up at the worst of times...b, 21A feeling of bottled up complaints erupting with no pro-action but dire systemic consequences and decisions insteadb, 21b, 21I left that slowly sinking ship after 5 years of hard work while finishing up my college education in a related fieldb, 21b, 21For every step your project is better and more efficient than the global norm there is still miles and miles of distance to cover to reach half of your goal...b, 21b, 21and it seems the only constant is the need of the people you are trying to helpb, 21b, 21Feelings of ease and personal well being have always been met with harsh criticism and a drive to give more to others often finding myself fading in such an inner struggleb, 21b, 21My university ambitions seem to follow the same path...unable to shake old habits and finding myself in a similar rut that seems to both practically and mentally erase my hopes of a doctorat and a guaranteed role in society...b, 21b, 21In any case I keep moving like the leeves of autumn old and gusts of wind keep on pushing my ambitions and actions to get cristalized like a snowflakeb, 21b, 21Recently a new project i got involved in (after one i left is flying real high) has suffered from internal similar fashionb, 21b, 21complaints and actions materialize into a jeopardizing mutiny but no real effort for progress before or after the coupb, 21b, 21My boss who i am fond of got ostracized when he left from afarb, 21b, 21like the french saying goes Quand le chat est loin les souris dancentb, 21b, 21No matter how much personal struggle he went trhough and how many compromises he made, the ones that beneft from these efforts are quick to destroy his reputation and whine their way out of their own inequacies and lack of effortb, 21b, 21I am left to bear all this weight on my shoulder and keep the ship afloat to help the inner city youth who basically appreciate the services on the same level as the complaining staffb, 21b, 21a man who shares my vision for the center but wondered what was keeping him here if it was not for the place itself will return to an even more hostile environementb, 21b, 21but all is kept under the guise of comradery and good willb, 21b, 21such is the life in th community sectorb, 21b, 21as i try to get involved in themunicipal political aspect i fear ill have to face a plethora of similar problems on a larger and smaller scale all interelated while the wealthy keep on parking there SUV's and writing checks to deal with their daily concernsb, 21b, 21like salt and snow in their parking alleys my world is slowly melting and i am left with a bitter and dirty tasteb, 21b, 21 C'est l'hiver! C'est l'hiver! C'est l'hiver! (French christmas carol)b, 21 img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/snowman.gif" alt="" /1 img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/udoshithr8.gif" alt="" /1b, 21b, 21the snow piles on while life goes on and your footsteps are quickly covered by fresh new acid polluted snow. Youve done wrong to yourself and others while trying to do write and you hope life will continue to give you a lil more luck

  • Thank you for this post, James. I really enjoyed reading it. Peace to your man Joe.b, 21b, 21There are plenty of reasons to be down right now--my job, the economy, early sunsets, the state of "the DJ scene," etc.--but I'm very fortunate (a few of the truest crania are familiar with said transaction) and that's what I'm trying to focus on.

  • Things are hard right now...and, shit is very real. I'm also, against all my efforts, stuck in one of the more self-absorbed periods of my life.b, 21b, 21Caring for in-laws. Father-in-law recovering from a compound fracture in his leg... just started walking with a cane a month ago, after 6-months recovery. Wife and I had moved back home, and were taking care of things... until...b, 21b, 21He went back to his first day of work a couple weeks back, and promptly got laid off. Not unmployment eligible. Everything he'd worked for in his recovery just got dashed... I am watching this man become elderly before my eyes, and it is KILLING my wife, who has taken on the burden of caring for him, as her mother is now working extra to make up the loss of income.b, 21b, 21Speaking of working extra... myself, I've been doing some serious neglecting of my familial duties. I haven't had a day off since the end of August, as what seemed like a serious career opportunity came my way in the form of a second job. Which has been great...except, I've been going M-F at Job 1, followed by a flight to Job 2 Fri-Sun. I'm exhausted, my wife is feeling very single, despite the fact that she signed off on the move, and has said that in the long run it was the best move. b, 21b, 21Sure, I've got a bunch of frequent flyer miles, and a line on some other work...yet, even that is getting more complicated than I'd like. And, as said about my own neglecting of the family...b, 21b, 21The care of my own mother, as she recovered from breast cancer, fell to my wife, as she volunteered to go to my parents house to care for her so I would be able to keep working. After two surgeries, and another to come, I will finally get to see Mom this Thursday for Thanksgiving... And, I will get my first day off since August.b, 21b, 21I will give thanks for my mother and my family's health, such that it is in recovery; I will give thanks for the opportunities that have come my way, and that I've earned through my own hard work. And, I will give thanks for having a beautiful, and caring wife who more than I could have ever asked for. And, I will give thanks for a day off...b, 21b, 21Every day since 8/28 - my birthday- I've been working on NFL football television programming. And, on Thursday, when I finally get a day off, and can do nothing, and see my mother, and cook, and do all that I want to do...I will sit with my family, and watch NFL football programming.b, 21b, 21Life could be worse...

  • james, b, 21b, 21As someone with a small footprint here on this board, my praise for your insights and word put-togethers means precious little in the scheme of things...but man. you always seem to tackle when others simply [i]grasp at./i1b, 21b, 21Thanksgiving is the timeframe of my aunt and father-in-law's passing, so we somber it up a bit over turkey and canned cranberries. Still, we're thankful for a lot--my son is 2, my wife and I are gainfully employed, and we get to spend this week entertaining the *good* side of the family. img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bonus.gif" alt="" /1b, 21b, 21b, 21
    Quote:h, 21b, 21i took a few liberties but i hope this scratches your itch jamesb, 21b, 21 b, 21b, 21h, 21
    font class="post"1b, 21b, 21this is fresh. also, james--if you feel like rolling your own:b, 21b, 21

  • jamesjames chicago 1,863 Posts
    Hey, thanks to pcmr, Martin, and BELIEVE for those put-ups--I really appreciate it. I'm sure that what I'm looking for is in there somewhere.

  • pacmanpacman 1,113 Posts
    Man, we have a deep 5 going on this month.....b, 21b, 21b, 21-Things seem to be going good for us business-wise, where as the economy has hit a lot of us hard in our industry (we sell copy machines). We're actually busier than any other time in our companies existance than I can think of. Considering the company is just myself, my father, and my mother this is a real good sign. We've been paying the bills, but we've struggled over the last year. We almost had to close up shop this past summer because things got so slow.b, 21b, 21-I get my organizational management certification at the end of this semester. Next year I'm done with my associates degree. It's just an associates, but it took me 10 years off and on to accomplish with 3 changes to my major and damnit, I'm going to be proud when I accomplish it.b, 21b, 21-Sister and brother-in-law get in tonight. Family is always a good thing in our household. We go pick up my youngest sister from Flagstaff tomorrow. This semester was her first semester away from home and she's handled it like a champ. I'm so proud of her. She's learning to really be independant.b, 21b, 21-Became a youth leader @ my church that I go to. Teenagers never cease to amaze me at their perspectives, whether it be good or bad. I've grown really attatched to them and they're like my second family. I'd jump at the chance to help any one of them in a second, even if it's at 3am.b, 21b, 21-I'm kinda down in some areas right now. I had to move back in with my parents at the end of the summer, and sometimes it just really racks me having to that. I knowb, 21we all work together and we're family and what not, but I miss my independance and I think sometime I'm a burden to them having me there. I don't think that's the case, but it's my perception at times. It kills my dating life for right now.b, 21b, 21-Speaking of the opposite sex, I really had to do some soul searching as of late and I realize that I'm still very bitter about my ex wife. It affects me, not on a daily basis, but it affects my view of women and dating and possibly finding a partner for the rest of my life. When you get roasted as badly as I did, it really screws with your head at times. Part of me wants to pardon and forgive her completely, the other part wants to say "burn in that SPECIAL part of Hell reserved strictly for scum like yourself." The second part is not healthy and I need to deal with it with the quickness.b, 21b, 21There's 5+1. Take them for what it's worth.

  • Since this is kind of a What's Killing You? thread, I'll let one go:b, 21b, 21A couple weeks ago at the Circle K convenience store near my house, a 17 yr old kid (Blood) was killed over some gang shit. He was the father of a newborn baby and had just enlisted in the service the day before. ("He decided to get his life in order," his Mom said.) He was approached by a couple Crip dudes in the store and some shit was spoke. After his purchase, he went outside where he scuffled with the dudes and was shot to death.b, 21b, 21That's not necessarily what's killing me, though. I know it's depressing as F*ck but sadly enough, I'm used to those stories. It's happened once or twice a week these past couple months. I've read too many stories and seen too many road- and storeside memorials for any of them to hit me me [i]real/i1 hard. (It's sad too, I'm a pretty emotional dude. I can't imagine how desensitized some of these younger folks might be.)b, 21b, 21Anyways, what's killing me is this...b, 21b, 21Yesterday I was walking into Ace Hardware and I passed by a kid draped up in a red t-shirt, red belt and red Chucks. I nodded a friendly "hello/what's up" to him as he walk past me. He gave me that "too cool for school" nod which was good enough for me. People show their friendliness in their own special way, you know? b, 21b, 21When I headed back home, I past the Circle K and there dude was..sitting on a milkcrate in front of the makeshift picture-, flower-, candle- and bandana-laden memorial, red bandana neatly folded on his shoulder. It made me real sad. I can only imagine he was talking to his dude, telling him how much he missed him. All the while keeping those tears in check as gangsters do.b, 21b, 21I passed by that same Circle K today and again, I see the same young kid sitting at the makeshift memorial. I wanted to pull over and just sit with the dude. Just let him know there's more out there. Life, love, laughter...the type of feelings his friend can feel [i]through/i1 him.b, 21b, 21I wonder what the Crip dudes think when they pass by and see him sitting there. It's a small neighborhood. At least one of those guys has to have a heart.
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