While I was tinkering and thinking about whether a Blues guitar solo should share amicable space with an alto saxophone on a number, I was captured by this captivating photograph of Tsehai Essiebea Farrell which led me on a great train of thought for the lyrics to come. Ethiopia had been on my mind recently because of a conversation I had with a great Ethiopian Artist about an awakening he had. A revelation about his place in the world, his vocation, and the micro of the worlds within his wider perception. So much of the telling if not the toiling of life, both in our written past and living present, has much to do with our vantage point and the dubious nature of our muscle memory where matters of the tender heart are concerned. Uncomfortably numb but our eyes never tire of seeing and being seen. Or do they? Do they know? Do they look in on us and play our hand against better judgement? Our windows remain the seducer and the seduced, for perpetuity. It can seem that way. And what is seen is unseen. What is known is a mystery as I am to you. Always the stranger from eye to eye. Yet familiar in some kind of way. Never fully known.
Once upon many moons ago, I met an elderly Japanese Haiku poet in Borders on Oxford Street. A favourite hang out spot of mine in the olden days. He told me his life story in the little English that he knew. A fast friendship was forged. He didn’t have a place to stay so he would spend his daylight hours in the book store and rely on the kindness of strangers, then at night he would wrestle with the odds and chance at finding somewhere to sleep, with all his earthly belongings in a bag for company.
I’ve been thinking about sleep a lot lately. I think about the line in Act IV of Macbeth. The lady’s inability to sleep without the light around her because of her fear of the dark. I’ve been in a dark place too and I have been awake through much of it. Sleeping with the light on in the dark. What light? Sometimes I watch the moon till my eyes tire enough to turn in. I rarely sleep without some light on inside my head. But getting back to the poet. He said to me “be the moon.” What did he mean? Light a way for yourself or someone in need. Perhaps that’s not what he meant but he wrote those few words in a book of his poems that he gave to me. I still wonder what became of him.
To be the moon. To turn the tide. An idea. Light as possibility. Light as love. Uncovered by night. Unbroken by morning. Even as we mourn through dark days and tread lightly on the minds of those who are dear to us, not wanting to hurt the gentle soul that has been pressed down to the bare bones of indifference in the war of being human. Naked enough to be badly disguised by the masks that silence sees through. And does the light come through when we lie? To each other? To ourselves? And do we die if we do not grasp it? Love. Light. The Moon. Us.
Flares will catch you. Not when you see them coming. Moving cool. Not while she occupies your precious time in mind. Dress rehearse the face you will wear when you are recognised by the heart yours mines for.
Flares will learn you well. Before you turn off the lights that bend at corners. Prosperous cheaters of nature’s law of one, hand out your fate full of the spiced choices you picked off like snipered scabs. Your lowers knew of the powers desire thrusts into language. You can’t speak it. Only of it.
Perhaps the light knew something I didn’t before I walked into studio C without a plan. Just loose ideas and the accumulation of years lived. The life I’ve been privileged to endure and delight in, tells on itself on such occasions as this one. Both sides of a coin put in a bid for what my heart subconsciously knows. I’m still learning to speak an old language.