On Petals – Jed

I always thought that if I could write I would write a novel about the tears that my mule couldn’t shed simply because mules don’t shed tears. Albert wrote a story once with a line in it and he showed it to me and he described something as being “sadness beyond sadness beyond sadness, the subtleties of sadness squared.” I thought that line was mature beyond Albert’s years because it seems I’ve known it, lived it rather.

I’ve finished Coconut Jerk Chicken, Moxy helped. Actually, Moxy did most of it. She did the words and then gave me the beat. I just came up with the melody. I don’t know where Albert came up with that one, probably stole it off of a drunken friend. He’s like that. He’ll sit around at the coffee house in Millsville where all the other fated artists meet to be around fated artists and he’ll listen to people. Albert’s the coolest hippie in town, but he doesn’t think of himself like that. When he was seven years old he would come into my room and listen to me play guitar. I never once told him to get out. I wasn’t thinking I was giving him a musical education during the most impressionable years of his life. I was thinking it was good to have my little brother there beside me when the whole world has gone to shit. Those drugs I took back then, they messed up my head. I was one of those guys who got mean when he took drugs, not mellow, although sometimes I got mellow too. I shouldn’t say mean. I never wanted to hurt anybody, not really, in my life. It’s just I got to a place where I didn’t take shit from anybody, nobody and nobody gave my family shit either. That’s why I beat that kid up at the roller rink. Nobody did violence to my family, not after what happened to my father. Nobody. That’s all.

Anyway, Albert. Little Albert. He’s over six feet tall now. I look up to the kid, but he’s not a kid anymore. The kind of kid whose got to have his day, his fifteen minutes of fame, but the kind of kid who you think sort of shouldn’t get it if you know what I mean. Over in North Carolina was a writer Albert told me about named Thomas Wolfe. He called Wolfe a pantheist, that’s somebody, Albert says, who believes God is in everything. I’d call that a schizophrenic myself, but Albert calls it a pantheist belief. He tried to explain to me the levels of Petals and I just couldn’t get it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it should go on, it will. What it means to me, though, more is that, somehow, if somebody says there are different levels that you can’t see in a work and the work espouses nothing but love, logic has it that love has many levels and therefore it takes time to get to those levels and if I don’t do his rock opera on a level of musicianship even higher than what I achieved with the Priestess, then I’m selling short love itself.

So since being back there’s no real rhyme or reason behind my life. I don’t do anything and that’s okay. Or I haven’t anyway. But now I will. I’ll write the music, or rather, I’ve been writing the music to Petals.

Petals, A Rock Scenario. Fifty-one pages of pure Diana Tribute. Enough Diana tribute to have Albert hung up on the stake by all those people out there who think just the mere mention of her name is Di-ploitation. Jed Jones of Moxy Priestess, disappeared for ten years off the music scene and here he is. Who would have thought, washed up, beat, a nobody now, trying to exploit the Princess for all he can before he completely becomes an old man and everybody forgets his name. So where do I begin:

Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead. Albert wants me to replace this so I will. He gave me the CD, OK Computer and I’ll listen to it. I tuned my guitar this morning. I have a different manner in which I write songs. It’s not the same thing as other people do. I hear the song in my head for a while before I know it’s complete. I put it down on my strings only, everything else is in my head. I’m writing the song in my head right now.

There’s no way to relay what it is that music does. I’m lost to trying. It’s better to give in and acknowledge there’s no way to explain anything to anybody, especially the idea that we all die, including Princess Diana, especially Princess Diana who you’ve got to admit seems like a person you didn’t expect to die or ever want to. This piece, well, I’ve heard it before. I’m going to listen to it again now and then try to explain to you what it says to me so maybe when you hear it you’ll understand, taking into consideration that Albert chose it and Albert’s gone through a lot of pain, being the man of the house for so long and yet being the baby, no dad, no brother, being the baby and then being all alone except for a woman who is really sad inside for being alone. One moment and then I’ll explain to you how my song will go since we can’t use Radiohead’s song in the Scenario although it’s worthy, truly worthy, and that’s why Albert picked it. Albert’s gave me the lyrics to help me to put together the music. His working title is Go.

Go: Wait. Don’t go home. Sleep. Time will let you know if you’re going to go. Don’t sleep without your pillow fluffed. Dreams are too important. Give away all that you know. Seek your own soul. Hey, you, don’t cry. Don’t sink down. Live into the night’s embrace, lean there and sigh. Go. Go. Don’t cry! Don’t sing a song and then say goodbye. Spy her there, Dodi, live for her breath that so slowly seeps away. Go. Go. Dream away. Go. Go. I hope you go.

The following song, Let Down is also by Radiohead sung by Camilla Parker Bowles: Albert’s is called I Love You which is really the second part of Go.

I Love You: Go home to sew the love in your coat and your torn up sleeve, bring it back to me with you inside and I will inspect your wounded pride and give to you all the love that you need and nobody will make you cry and I will sing a song for you then, my love, because the night it deems itself, deems itself better than goodbye, sounds off like sudden hits on tubular bells. I love you. Go. Go. Go. Don’t cry Charles. But Go, oh King, oh Go. I Love You. So Go. And let the lovers win. And come home to me.

There’s definitely some spirituality involved in this work. I don’t know if Albert is a good writer, but I’m starting to think he’s not pulling all of our chains. If you listen to the idea that Radiohead sparked in him then it seems that you’ve found somebody who can hear a work of genius. It makes sense. Albert, and I’m not saying this to be conceited, but Albert listened to my most accomplished works when he was a kid. I mean I formed songs such as Labyrinth and Tuesday Schooling under this kid’s nose. The opening of Pianissimo came out of me one day because I was staring at the calm in Albert’s eye while he listened to me, and it seemed so quiet. How can there not be a correlation between what Albert is doing and what I’m doing?

I find it impossible to think, now that I’m working on this play, that my musical shelf life has expired. Despite all of the shit and horror that I’ve seen, despite all the pain I’ve caused my family, I have to admit that with the reunion of my brother and I there has been a heightening of my own creative powers. Where I understand the physicality of the music only as I play, Albert understands the meaning and the physicality’s effects so he can hardly function, so he has to put the music in his head to words. Albert tells me he sings too now. He wants to play Trevor in the Scenario. He’s the man on the mountain, my brother, and finally, finally, I have somebody who I can call my friend, a peer, a musical peer finally, one who understands the music that I was reaching for in a way that even I couldn’t.

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Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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