good morning ~
(click just above to listen)
today's track is my voice and my lap steel eating their own tails
for those of you anywhere near upstate, ny: on halloween I'll be part of a wild, 15-hour-long gallery show at a converted church in hillsdale. There will be something like 40 artists shown, all the party elements, and i'll be playing lap steel drones in an actual graveyard in a spooky attempt to raise the dead. message me for more info on that, you are welcome to attend ~
also: i'm continuing to seek out work / gigs / opportunities. if there's anything i can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out. i have done a lot of stuff in the last year+ of not having a day job and i look forward to keeping my odd streak going. got something for me? and a serious prompt for you, too: what do you think I should do?
There is a quota of experienced pain within a human body, a certain amount of yearning or discomfort or torment or irritation or distress you must necessarily feel within a given window. There are aches, there are injuries, there are maladies. There are muscles that are sore with singing, exultant in the effort, and joints that throb with exertion. There are bed sores and blisters from walking too long. There are hungers and thirsts and ringing ears and clenched jaws and stubbed toes. There are the knot twists of intense feeling that nail your guts to the wall, the jolts of off-kilter electricity in an off-balance brain.
Yes, there's an inherent pain to being a body. Some, unfairly, experience far more than their share. Certain things can sometimes help, like spiritual meditation or general fulfillment or eating right - these things are supposed to make us stronger, more resilient, less agonized. But right on down to the fittest, most comfortable soul you could imagine, there's that minimum dose in that bitter little lozenge.
Something we often comfort ourselves with: though the person has passed, they now feel no pain. And we utter this to each other because to feel no pain is so obviously the opposite of being alive, it's the one true consolation when someone loses their life.
It's often said that drugs and alcohol are a way of borrowing tomorrow's joy, but really I think that it's more like putting off today's pain for tomorrow. Dance all you want, scream yourself ragged, but tomorrow you'll pay your corporeal rent twice, with interest. And I think this is part of how addictions and destructive tendencies come about - the debt of pain grows so large that to face it head-on is impossible. New pain must be invented and experienced - greedily - so you fall down drunk, palsy pinned to the hand you pass out on. Or you try, nobly at first and then ever more feebly, to kill the pain - the killers are easier to swallow than the looming harder truths (I imagine a figure in armor drawing their sword of shining opiates and beheading the hydra of pain, only to see double).
"Pain is weakness leaving the body" - the tank-top I saw at the gym today. Something I've heard a million times and something the really sausage-bodied men of the free weights really seem to believe, they underline it with every grunting grimace for each precious rep. It's an effective little mantra, one I will admit to propping myself up with in my most manic days of fitness. It feels good to justify the hurt of it, it's rewarding to see just how much you can put up with. I wondered where the phrase came from and apparently this is something that they berate fresh marines with in the most grueling moments of boot camp. This is drilled into you by the drill sergeant, screamed at you when you're asked to do that one last grueling task. But for the marines weakness leaving the body also means one's agency leaving the body - a strong marine is one that doesn't question orders, one that can do 100 pushups readily and by request without a second thought.
And while trying to find the origin of this phrase I found an even more alarming variation that is apparently the credo of 100-mile ultra-marathon runners: "make pain your friend and you'll never be alone." Yeah! Me and my old pal pain are gonna hit the town tonight.
But come to think of it...we all know pain pretty well. Psychic pain has been a constant companion in this last long stretch, why not buy a sidecar for the motorcycle and upgrade pain to friend? A little buddy to nip at your heels, tear your tendons, keep you company.
Pain is the spice of life. Pain is just your body trying to tell you something. Pain is temporary, but quitting is forever. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Pain is an alarm bell. Pain is a chord played by spirited winds on a long string of power lines. Pain is a little buddy. Pain is a meal you eat al fresco. Pain is just another four letter word. There is in fact an "i" in pain. Pain is an ever-inflating balloon animal. Pain is a series of electronic signals. Pain is acknowledging distance from the creator. Pain is a pill you swallow. Pain is a cheatcode for wisdom. Pain is a building that echoes like a tiered parking garage. Pain is a river you can dam with your will. Pain is gain, and gain is always good. Pain is freedom manifesting before you. Pain is the first flame on a burgeoning fire, feel the heat crackling. Pain is often a pretty good indication that you should consider stopping whatever it is you're doing. Pain is beautiful. Pain is one symptom of being alive. Pain is something that everyone you have ever met has experienced in some way, at some point. Pain is very obvious in people's day-to-day lives. Pain is slippery. Pain is wanting something better for yourself. Pain is a garden you tend. Pain is an indicator. Pain is a billboard. Pain is a check engine light. Pain is a breakable pony. Pain is a delicate pastry. Pain is a medal given. Pain is a trophy. Pain is a crossable ocean. Pain is the thread with which moments of joy are sewn together. Pain is obligation. Pain is rejection. Pain is a magic eye painting. Pain is.
But what about you? Are you eating your own tail? Is there something you can do for me? What pain is with you in this very moment?