Monthly Archives: September 2017

When Baseball Defies Odds

I like to watch the trains as I smoke cigarettes. It’s something I’ve taken to doing sometimes, usually at night, walking the block to the bridge that overlooks the Long Island Railroad. Standing, peering down, I’ve often thought of how it all came to be. And not so long ago. Engineers bashing through plans for tracks to be laid, crisscrossing North America, by the bare hands of those with a hunger. Some of it literal; some divine. A battered innocence cut. And all but with some idea that it was indeed for something bigger. For the present and future as one. For a past wrought without civility; without mercy and without care. A train, for one thing, might take you anywhere. Anywhere at all. And so why not let it ride?

Of course, with history, we know that the rails were built by suffering. That’s all we’ve ever truly built with, this nation of ours. We are a land of the supposed will for compromise and with a certain moral superiority, yet we’ve a penchant for absurd greed and ragged muscle. For a fire ant’s mentality. For a rusty sheath of ice cold steel. With a bubble bath in the headlines and its filth disappearing down the drain.

Funny how it is that filth upon which those tracks were laid in the first place. To comb our past is to present no disparities to wonder. Blood and sweat spill. Yet whatever our motives in the treatment of each other, we should know we are one as Something, if not something else. And with a lifetime of maturity, it seems we could be able to get to that someplace better.

Of course, such fate may seem to drag it’s knuckles. Time waits for no one when they seem eclipsed by darkness. And in our world, there is much darkness. Too much, to be sure.

So within this blanket of night, where do we go for a light switch? I tend to look for pieces of art. For music, dance, pictures, and laughter. For that which is so vast in it’s scope, it is played out perpetually, with each passing moment a momentum for change; for history made. For that impossible emotion brought forth from your soul.

It seems I’ve been feeling these tides of elation more and more these past couple years. One moment aghast by our national stage: a man with a constant hardon and a history of sexual assault, serial fucking around, and a failure at common sense and decency who is leading us further into a darkness. This is no abstract notion. But it’s not his fault. He wasn’t made for this. He was made to play the game. But when it isn’t a game anymore, what is it? And what will it turn into?

I for one, prefer no game. But if I have to choose, I choose beauty over brawn. I choose finesse over annihilation. A ball over a bullet. A handshake over a clenched fist. I choose baseball: America’s pastime. It is our Mona Lisa. Along with rock and roll, the greatest thing that we’ve created as a culture. And it goes on and on, baseball. Over three quarters of the year, we watch and we listen. And sometimes, we see the impossible play out before us like theatre drawn from the mind of some idealist romantic. Our hearts soar with the crowd as a team from Cleveland plays like no team has ever played, winning more consecutive games than any of the thousands of teams that have played the hundreds of thousands of games since Major League Baseball began over a hundred years ago. A team that – over a 22 game period – won all of them, hitting more home runs as an offense than the total number of runs allowed by the pitchers. By twenty-something men gliding past expectations and holding fate and chance as no deciding factors in the purge of true soul in motion. For three weeks, Cleveland Baseball was as perfect as the world has ever seen. And it was so remarkable.

But tonight, as I stood watching for those trains rolling beneath me, on those tracks built by the past, I thought about our present and future as beings in our existence. And although I may always shudder at the world as it seems to have always been, I can’t help but have some hope. Because we as human beings continue to mine for and witness beauty. For three weeks, 25 young men participated in something no 25 young men have ever more than dreamed up. And as it has come to it’s end, I stood on that bridge and I glanced down at the tracks beneath me and smiled. Not at the railroad, its history, or its future. But at the reality of the cars’ inhabitants: a few of the millions of people who know a world where 30,000 people will all rise in ovation at the end of an inevitable defeat, as 25 men wave their hats in gratitude. None of it because of losing the game. But for a collective epiphany that Cleveland has once again made us believe in Light. Even while the world is draped in darkness.

Thoughts Upon The Release Of My New Album

A seven year song purge peppered with life-changing events and experiences led me to make the move to New York with Alexandra Tsubota and begin a phase of life I never thought possible. In doing so, I would leave some things behind: people who I love and miss deeply who, along with the city of Cleveland, took me in and treated me well when I least felt like I deserved it…time and their compassion rehabilitated me and made me well to be not just living, but alive. I have so many people in my past and present to thank for so much that I won’t begin to try to list them all here. If you’re reading this, figure yourself one.

But now, here I am. And my heart’s a bit torn in two. One half is elated at my good fortune to be where and how I am: living with and loving the most incredible person I could know; working full time for one of the most well known bookstores in the world, which happens to currently employ some rad people who I have come to consider friends. My mind is stable enough. And I’m happy.

But the other half is sick with fear and loathing; disgust, but also helplessness and confusion. Why should things be fine for me and not for everyone? What is keeping me whole? It’s odd, I spend so much of my time feeling invisible, but what I’ve realized lately is that being the kind of invisible I seem to be is, in some way, a goal to a lot of people…I’m a working class, white, straight, 29 year old male in the United States. I need no crutch in this country. I need no home in this world. And that makes no sense to me at all. 

So when I look around me in the morning as I’m going to work and there’s dozens of people sleeping on the sidewalk, my stomach turns, but I don’t have any money to give them. When I read the news, I scream or weep or both, but what do I do to fix it? Living well and being a hardworking, kind, compassionate and empathetic feminist goes a long way but I can’t be at peace when most everyone else isn’t. Perhaps there’s just no true peace to be had. In every country on Earth right now people are either disenfranchised or targeted, murdered or massacred, are starving or are sick. Why is that – the most obvious of all injustice worth putting to an end – what is invisible? My invisibility is a cloak. I wear it. It is a shield to me. It allows me to escape into a home I have, press play, and forget. 

Fuck that. I’m tired.

I have love to give. Certain people​ have shown me how. So during a year of changes in my personal life, and continued upheaval in our country and around our world, I wrote. I played. I sang. That’s what I can do. That’s what I can offer you. It’s free. I wrote the first song the day after election day. The next ten tracks came over the next few months. 

I write about what I see and how it makes me feel. And though in all my cloaked existence, I shudder to think of what it’s truly like for so many others who can’t escape into my Oblivion, I can at least let them, and you, know that I care. And if it’s not enough, I’m really sorry.

But I’m trying.