Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We were getting the band together, or back together. Mike and I went into a bar and auditioned a friend of ours to sing. She stood near the bar and sang an old Irish folk song beautifully. I decided to arrange it as a country song. As we left Mike smoked a cigarette. Later, he and I were hunkered down somewhere, like a strip mall, getting ready to do something or for something to happen. I realized we were holding assault rifles. I got up, alarmed, and told Mike we had to get rid of these guns and leave, or people would think we were terrorists. We hurried out of the parking lot as authorities were swarming in.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My older sister came over for Christmas Eve dinner. She wore her hair in dreadlocks. Just as she sat down she realized she had been invited to a lesbian wedding and had to leave at once. One of the women in the couple was a race car driver.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wires on the Mountain

Sara had given me a Christmas or birthday gift that consisted of playing pool with Neil Young. The location was a bar somewhere, and many other people were there too. I realized that Neil would be splitting his time with everyone else who had booked the experience and that I wouldn’t be able to chat with him much. For some reason my dad was with me. Two guys who worked for Neil came in and sat with us, kind of prepping us for his arrival. One of them looked like him and I realized it was his brother. I mentioned to the other one that I assumed this was all for charity, and it was impressive that Neil would give his time like this. The guy shook his head no, it was not charity. “Oh, it’s a money-making enterprise?” I asked, and the guy left it at that.

When Neil came in he made the rounds and eventually came over to shake my hand. There was a bandstand with equipment set up and my dad said, with little enthusiasm, “It looks like Sting is going to actually play.” I was mortified that he confused Neil Young with Sting.

The pool games started. Sure enough, Neil wandered from table to table, taking a turn here and there in half-assed games where no one could remember what balls to hit. At my table he lined up a shot where the cue ball and the object ball were bottlecaps. I tried to gather up in my mind all the things I wanted to say to him, all the questions I might ask, but they evaded me. Finally I said, “You’ve played this game before, haven’t you?” I thought it was a clever reference to the hours and hours of intoxicated pool he played with his band while recording “Tonight’s the Night.” He seemed to get it. He smiled and said yeah, I guess I have. He missed the bottlecap shot and was off to another table.

I was disappointed in the experience but also disappointed in myself for not making the most of it anyway. I resolved to make some kind of connection with Neil. The next time he came around I remembered that he had started an ice cream business. “I didn’t realize you were so into ice cream,” I said, and he just kind of nodded and smiled. The event ended and we all left. There was a crazy old car in a driveway next to the bar, a big, wood-paneled station wagon from the sixties. A band of comedians were leaning out of windows in the building next to it, looking at it, looking at us. I found Neil seated at a sort of ticket booth in the wall of another building. This was my chance to have some meaningful conversation with him. “Neil, how’s your creative life?” I asked. He came out the door and walked with me. He said there hadn’t been much going on but that this morning he went outside and looked up and he saw there were wires on top of the mountain, and he found some kind of beauty or hope in it. I was suddenly very moved, close to tears. “That could be the beginning of a song,” I said, and he agreed.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I was crossing a city street and a white van sped past behind me, out of control. It smashed into the side of a parked car and went on its zig-zaggy way.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I was observing someone who had worked with a charismatic figure who ran some kind of charity, kind of like the cups of tea guy, and had written a tell-all book about the experience. The author recounted passages from his book. He described the promises he was made when he was hired, some of which were evidently broken or empty. His boss had nicknames for things, like the New York Jets. He called them some other phrase, something clever and idiosyncratic, not “the New York Jets.”

R. D. had gone off the rails somewhere and cut off his own head.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I was telling the story of my gay dentist, trying to get it right. “I was living on thirty… No, I was living on the Upper West. I was working on 35th Street, on the west side. I found the dentist in provider website—he was closest.” Then I was making the journey there. I ended up at a wine store. There was a woman who was struggling through a curtain of water. She reminded me of a salmon swimming upstream.

Then I was staying at Jesse’s house, thinking how I needed to drive back home. There was a bagel delivery as I left. Richard Pryor handed me a warm bagel.