‘Round Midnight (83. Holy Saturday)

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After last night’s gig, Tammy drove me back to the apartment. I went upstairs alone, yet not alone. One or more of Opus Dei were there in spirit. I knew that. I don’t know how.

I let it all out in my improvisation, and then we lit the place up. I hope somebody recorded it.

Today was quiet. No gig. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, so we probably wouldn’t get an audience anyway. The gallery was closed, so I spent the afternoon down there playing, playing, playing. I was afraid to do anything else.

Maria left me alone, instead spending the day painting in her studio. Akira stopped in briefly in the morning to say goodbye. She’s headed back to Chi-town to tell her mother her news, now that she has calmed down.

That’s something I’m still working on.

Maria made pizza for dinner – just what the doctor ordered. She knows something is wrong, but I dare not tell her what, certainly not the whole thing. My instinct tells me she is not a member – no tattoos that I’m aware of, but I haven’t seen her with her cloths off. She has been my companion off and on through the ages, and I don’t think she would have countenanced a “Mary’s Army”. I feel that I have come to know her that well.

I am not crazy.

But I am standing on Maria’s rooftop patio watching a thunderstorm blow in during the night. I’m standing back from the railing. Truthy still hasn’t cured my acrophobia. The lights of the city are still bright, seemingly unaware of what is coming …

… what is here.

I am.

I am that storm. It will blow fiercely in the warm night air, and bring a cold crisp Easter morning.

They tortured my son to death, calling him a criminal, hanging him without charges. He was half dead even before they pounded the nails through his hands. I couldn’t leave, even after his last breath. His last words were unintelligible to me. Some said he pleaded to his father, others say he asked my forgiveness. What does a mother need to forgive her only child for?

For dying before her? He could not help that. He couldn’t hide that he was different from them, different, too, from me, yet I am even more different in ways that I don’t even understand.

Magda sits with me now, waiting she knows not what for. I do, but only because it has been revealed to me by my inner voice. It will be misunderstood, yet it will change the world. The love of my life will return to me in the morning for a short time until he moves on. 

The men are asleep in this secluded hideaway, separate from us as is appropriate. They are here to protect me, yet it is I who protect them. I keep the watch while Magda sobs. She will miss him most. In time she will be unable to picture his sweet face. Only yesterday’s horror will remain. I will never forget. I can never forget.

We keep Passover, for whatever good it does us. I must play the game, just as you do.

I’m not as good at playing the game as you are, but I can get away with a lot more in my time.

I see you have other troubles, in what little your presence reveals to me.

I was just observing. I didn’t mean to intrude, especially today. I am in danger, but I don’t know from whom. Someone tried to … maim me … today. It is an existential threat to us. That is all I know.

Your city is beautiful. So much light. A storm is brewing though. You should take cover.

You can see it?

When you are here, I can see fleeting glimpses of your world, if I choose to allow myself. It can be so confusing and different. Today, you need my help, although I don’t know how much I can give from 2000 years in your past. Trust your instinct. Trust yourself. Surrender to the Truth. In the Truth you have nothing to fear.

But you lied once.

I lied to reveal a greater Truth. Forgive me, Magda stirs. I must console her in her time of grief.

Magda’s cheeks are soaked with tears. Surely, she should be consoling Mary. 

But she lacks our strength. We must be strong when it counts. It counts as much for you today as it does for me. I will meet my son again in the morning. Magda doesn’t share that certainty.

Surrender to the Truth.

Large drops of rain begin to fall. Mary urged me to take cover, but this feels good to me, at least until the wind and hail comes.

And it will.

‘Round Midnight (66. Open Season)

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Photo by Evelyn Chong from Pexels

Ophelia confronted him, and he told her the truth.

Then she let me have it with both barrels. I won’t be seeing her for a while, if ever again. I don’t even know if they broke up.

Since today was open season on Cassie, Asami got in on the act. She was upset that I didn’t phone her enough while I was away, and that I didn’t consult with her before Maria’s live art installation. She’s also met someone else, or hitched up with an old girlfriend actually. Aoki always takes Asami’s side, so I’m dead meat both ways. They are both mad at Akira for her situation, but she’s their agent, so that can’t be helped.

I don’t know how to react to that. Asami and I were never a couple. We were best friends, and we dabbled, but that was it.

In disarray, I have to play tonight’s gig. Etienne and Jamar are still here, so we are playing all trio originals, except that I’m opening the night with solo on Crepuscule for Nellie, just because I’m still obsessed with yesterday’s sunrise. I’ve been writing a lot lately, and we rehearsed two more new ones this afternoon, destined for the middle set.

I’m in an odd mood and my music betrays me. Tempos are slow and reflective, my improvisations expressive with violent outbursts and odd quotations, now wandering into Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra with slight alterations to fit the changes.

Bathing in ignominy
my insides hollowed out
through a sieve of emotion
all is lost

I’m tired, neutered
stuck in love’s neutral
a deplorable state
veritas vos liberabit

the truth punishes
to set me free
in truth I hope
that I may be.

Akira sits alone at my feet, drinking her juice. We are alike in thought, in deed, in need. She should really wear a bra under that t-shirt, but then who am I to be question clothing decisions? I’ve dressed down, a ripped up Deep Purple T falling off one shoulder and a black mini. Serious skin, and more than a sneak peak at my minimalist black lacy bra. (Going without was not an option with this T.)

I miss my trumpet. I would feel more comfortable with it tonight, but there is little room for it in the trio. I notice most of my Bartok quotes are from the trumpet parts.

Akira is crying. She and Aoki had it out today. We cuddle at the break. She does, at least, have some good news for me. They want me to play my trumpet concerto at the Aldeburgh Festival in England in June. Another soloist backed out, and they already had me booked for a gig at the Pumphouse. I’ll need to put the finishing touches on it and prepare the parts. They want them at the beginning of May.

Playing Breathe is hard tonight. It’s slow and languid, sometimes apologetic. Aftershock is just the opposite, violent and frenetic, the fastest we’ve ever played it.

Without a word said, Akira drives, follows me to the door, and in. We need each other tonight.

 

‘Round Midnight (57. Being Cassie)

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I thought I missed O’Leary before. I missed his magic. I missed his ability to take a simple melody and make it bliss. I missed his ability to take a ferociously difficult passage and make it sound easy.

I missed being able to terrorize him on-stage and not fluster him. The only thing that flusters him is when my brain is not here, and even then, he won’t say anything until the next break. I could be naked onstage and he wouldn’t care, or possibly even notice, as long as I am Cassie being Cassie.

You’ve got me flyin’ high and wide
On a magic carpet ride
Full of butterflies inside
Wanna cry, wanna croon
Wanna laugh like a loon
It’s that old devil moon in your eyes

I’m that devil, dressed all in white. Barely dressed, I suppose. White silk halter, white mini, white panties.

Pure as the driven snow.

Be thou as chaste as ice,
as pure as snow,
thou shalt not escape calumny.
Get thee to a nunnery, go.

Imagine me in a nunnery.
Ophelia turns the tide.
I take O’Leary for a ride,
collide in Yorick’s memory.

Not that kind of collision.
Formed in bleak derision,
but pure in steamy Miles,
amused by dreamy smiles.

No A’s in the crowd tonight,
none to witness our sunward flight
on waxed wings of Icarus free,
back down to Earth would be.

The house is full of the devil’s music, and this devil is weaving her magic, seducing the masses with the forbidden fruit I harvest with my agile fingers, the invisible pole to which I cling, and swing, sometimes I sing. I take wing.

A single beer to lubricate my libido, there must be someone here with whom I may descend to hell and back, or heavenward to melt those waxen wings and fall or fly, as pleases my eye. Yet, alone I remain, decoupled, uncoupled, alone in a crowd. The only thing I pull is a face, tongue stuck out at one of O’Leary’s crazy modulations. I’m prey to his magic tonight, while the siren misses her mark, accompanied by worshipers to the train platform instead of suitors.

The seat next to me unclaimed, I imagine another slice of pizza waiting on my kitchen table, a real one, but it’s not there.

Alone to bed, to sleep, perchance to dream.

‘Round Midnight (45. I am)

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I am back at the hotel. The gig with DeRon was awesome. It was almost enough to forget everything about social media.

Tis in my memory lock’d,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it.

Apparently, I’m a shameless hussy. I didn’t know people used that phrase anymore. If they weren’t upset about my commando night, or my one-night stand, they took issue with my wardrobe choices. I don’t know what they were on about. I saw the show when it aired, and I looked awesome. We watched it at Tammy’s. She was ecstatic.

Nobody complained about my music, or at least I didn’t see anything to that effect.

I am shameless.
I am blameless.
I am nameless.

I am.

I am the wind in the trees
the gentle breeze.
I am the water on the street,
the summer heat.

I am.

I am the sand on the beach,
the heights you reach.
I am the mountains and plains,
when it rains.

I am.

I am the sea.
I am the queen bee.
I am free.

I am.

I want to walk the streets tonight, but it snows yet more. I’m not there. I’ve eschewed the covers, covers that Akira buries herself in. I’ve ditched the flannels, and found my thinnest t-shirt to preserve my modesty when she awakens.

I would walk through walls,
roam the halls.
I’d ditch the glass,
and fall on my ass.

To be alone.
To be one.

To be the loneliest number.
“Two can be as bad as one,
but the loneliest number
is the number one.”

What I would give to be lonely now. I’m lonelier when I am not alone. Would that Akira would go home, and Asami lose her love for me, and I lose my love for her.

I am the fulfillment of your dreams,
Your goal in life or death, it seems
You need what I have
For that is my role.
I will make you whole.

Who will make me whole?

I am one and many.
I am the Truth.
I am.

These words swirl through my head. No multiverse travels for me tonight. No enigmatic conversations with Gaia. I am not alone.

Only thoughts of truth.

What is truth?

The Truth is the Source of all. Don’t give up.

But I’m a shameless hussy, or so they say.

You are what you want to be. Take your clothes off. Live.

Now?

You are too literal. Let them shoot the breeze. It’s a moving target. You are the flame that burns, the flame that renews.

I seem to be a lot of things tonight.

Always.

More Late Nights with Ezzie Dryar (28. Damn!, swearing)

No dinner tonight. I arrived at Janice’s house at 6 pm and it was dark. I crapped … err, knocked on the door. Nothing. I didn’t see her out during my run this morning, but I suspect that meant she had gone to work. I wasn’t required until the afternoon, so I ran a little later.

Two days in a row? I haven’t done that in a long time. I was hoping to see her, but maybe I should have been out there at six or seven. Some people do work too much … um, normal business hours, you know. Perhaps there was a problem, and she didn’t have my phone number.

Maybe she just blew me off. It wouldn’t be the first time. I seem to be prone to it.

It’s too bad. I needed to be with someone today. Anyone. I said something in rehearsal today, that someone took wrongly. I won’t repeat it. It was BAD, and what is worse, it wasn’t a misspeak. It was a comment about one of the old perverts … err, older violinists of the Symphony, and I had misjudged how much he was depleted … um, respected. That was stupid, and I knew my mistake as soon as the words vomited from my mouth. Whatever respect I used to have is gone now. I used to be that eccentric Brit who was the ace third horn player, who was reliable and never cracked a note in public. Now I’m just a foul-mouthed bitch in the back of the orchestra.

Maybe Janice heard about what I said. A lot of members of the Symphony play for the Ballet. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

What else is there worth talking about today? Nothing.

My card … well, yes:

FIVE of SWORDS. Defeat. Loss, malice, spite, weakness, slander. A separator of friends. Cruel yet cowardly. Evil speaking.

In a word … me.

Fuck.

More Late Nights with Ezzie Dryar (26. Lost, swearing)

Christa and Dana are gone. I’ve never let myself become the maternal sort, and that prevented me from becoming too attached to Dana. Christa is more where that instinct hit home. As a student, she was much like a daughter to me, one that I fortunately didn’t have to raise and suffer through her teens. She is an adult and in love with me, but I can’t help that. I love her, too, in a different sort of way.

I got fucked … lost on the way home from the airport. Before I knew it, I was in Springsteen … Springfield, and that is quite a distance too far. I don’t know how I got onto I-55 either. It was dinnertime before I made it back home to East St Louis. Was that a vestige of my possession? Probably not. I was conscious the whole time, thinking of Christa and being lonely … and Allen.

Why haven’t I made any friends here? Am I just too weird for them?

By the way, I need to clear something up. Allen did dispose … depose … err, propose to me last year, but we couldn’t find a priest for our date, so the wedding was delayed, and then I had to come to St Louis, and it kept being put off. Allen didn’t push it, and neither did I. I think he knew me too well.

I only realized that I was still wearing the ring while I was driving, around the time I hit the signs for Springfield. Sadly, I’ve taken it off now. Do I send it back? He hasn’t asked for it. I should give it to him next time I’m in heaven … err, London.

FOUR of WANDS. Completion (inverted).

I don’t think I even need to explain that one. Inverted, that means it is imperfect, incomplete, unreliable (there’s that word again), and over-anxious. (So much for being settled or clever!)